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Henry of Navarre 










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The Barricades and the Edict op Union 3 

Guise gains the Credit of routing the Germans .... 3 

Francois de Chatillon .......... 5 

The King fears to punish the seditious Preachers .... 5 

He attempts to convert Heretics 6 

The Foucaud Sisters 7 

Palissy the Potter 7 

Henry visits him in the Bastile 8 

Martyrdom of the Foucaud Sisters 9 

Royal Revels 10 

The League agrees upon the Articles of Nancy 11 

The Zeal of Guise satisfies the Spanish Ambassador . . . 12 

The King labors fruitlessly to win back Guise ..... 13 

He turns to Queen Elizabeth for Help 14 

Importance of converting Henry of Navarre 14 

Secret Interview of the King with Sir Edward Stafford (February, 

1588) 16 

His Hopes founded on the Army of the Reiters . . . . .17 

Death of the Prince of Conde (March 5, 1588) 20 

Trial and Imprisonment of the Princess 21 

The Prince's Death an irreparable Loss 22 

Depression of the King of Navarre 24 

Firm Answer to the Advances of the King of France ... 26 

Roman Catholic Conjectures respecting Condc's Successor ... 26 

The League has no Desire for Peace 28 



Philip the Second directs the League .... 

The Duke of Guise reaches Soissons 

The Parisians beg him to hasten his Coming 

Guise unexpectedly enters the Capital (May 9, 1588) 

He visits the Queen Mother ..... 

Surprise and Dejection of the King 

The Duke comes to the Louvre ..... 

The Populace of Paris ...... 

The Day of the Barricades (May 12, 1588) . 

Catharine negotiates in vain 

Henry of Valois escapes from his Capital 

Stanch Protestantism of the English Ambassador 

Sir Edward Stafford declines the Protection of Guise . 

The League intrenches itself in Paris 

Henry of Navarre's Satisfaction ..... 

How Paris might be punished ..... 

The King's weak Protest 

His undiminished Hatred of Heresy 
Discouragement of the King's loyal Subjects 
Treachery of the Royal Council .... 

Guise and Pope Sixtus ....... 

The King forced to sign the Edict of Union (July, 1588) 
Its intolerant Provisions ...... 

The Secret Articles ....... 

Tears of the King, and Joy of the Parisians 
Satisfaction of Bernardino de Mendoza 








The Assembly of La Rochelle, and the Second States or 

Blois 00 

Position of the Huguenots before the Law ..... 60 

They demand the Edict of January 61 

The Protestants not disheartened IS 

The lie de Marans -.63 

Its Capture by Henry of Navarre 

The Huguenot Soldiers pray and sing Psalms 66 

Consternation of the Roman Catholic Troops 66 

Other Successes of the King of Navarre 67 

Political Assembly of La Rochelle (November) .... 69 

Address of the King of Navarre ?i» 

Cordial Response of the Delegates 72 

The Protestant Prince's Inconsistencies TO 


VI l 


Frank Remonstrances 

Henry receives them patiently .... 
He is intolerant of political Opposition 
His Petition for " Instruction " .... 
Organization of the Huguenot Party 

The Protectors Council 

Provision for Religious Teachers and Education 

The Consistorial Party suspicious . 

The Second States General of Blois 

Guise made Lieutenant General .... 

Dissimulation of Henry of Valois . 
Imprudence of Guise, and Fears of his Friends . 
The King fails to secure a Majority 
The Invincible Armada ..... 

Henry selects new Counsellors 

Opening of the States General . ... 

The King's renewed Expressions of Hostility to the 

The Fear of a Huguenot Successor . . . 

Renewal of the Oath proposed 

Speech of Month olon, Keeper of the Seals . 

Speech of the Archbishop of Bourges 

Speeches of Baron Sennecey and the Prevot des Marchands 

The Edict of Union again sworn to (October 18, 1588) 

Annoyance of the Guises ........ 

The Clergy seeks to have Navarre declared incapable of succeeding 
The Tiers Etat demands the Diminution of the Taxes 
The Duke of Savoy invades the Marquisate of Saluzzo 

Guise not privy to the Enterprise 

The King resolves upon the Murder of Guise . 

Mayenne is said to have warned the King . 

Conference respecting Guise's Movements 

The King again swears to persevere in the Union 

Assassination of the Duke of Guise . 

And of his Brother, the Cardinal 

Henry's Policy toward the Huguenots 

The King's Account given to Catharine de' Medici 

The Huguenots still to be persecuted 

Character of the Duke of Guise .... 

His Ambition ....... 

Illness and Death of Catharine de' Medici (January 
Her Character 

5, 1589) 










the League 

Open Rebellion of the League, and Union of the two Krxr,^ 
The Huguenots breathe more freely on the Death of Henry of Guise 
But abstain from unseemly Rejoicing ...... 

Duplessis Mornay's Words on the Event 

The Struggle not ended ..... 

Capture of Niort by the Huguenots 
Contrast between Huguenot Warfare and that of 
Fictitious Stories of Huguenot Atrocities 
Failure at La Ganache ..... 

Dissipation of the Army of Nevers 

Illness of Henry of Navarre .... 

Anxiety at La Rochelle .... 

Henry's Religious Professions .... 

First Measures of the King of Franco . 
He soon relapses into Sluggishness . 

Fury of the Parisians 

The " Seize " save Paris for the League 
Dignified Attitude of the Parliament of Paris 
" Naked Processions " through the Streets 
Resort to Magic ...... 

Arrests and Revolutionary Acts 

The Sorbonne absolves the People from its Allegi 

Declaration of the Parliament .... 

Mayenne made Lieutenant General 

Accessions to the League ..... 

Murder of President Duranti at Toulouse 

Desertion of Retz and Mercoeur 

The King re-enacts the Edict of Union 

And releases many Prisoners .... 

Cardinal Morosini, the Legate, remains at Court 

The King turns to Germany and Switzerland for 

Henry of Navarre advances to the Loire 

His Appeal to the three Orders 

He declares himself open to Conviction 

He takes all Patriots under his Protection 

The Hope of Conversion held forth 

The King and Navarre enter into Negotiations 

Truce between the two Kings (April 3, 1589) 

The Huguenots cross the Loire 

Prophecy of Gabriel d' Amours 

The League conducts Navarre to the Throne . 

Meeting of the two Kings (April 30, 1589) . 




Mayenne attacks the Suburbs of Tours .... 
Excesses of the Army of the League at Tours and elsewhere 
The Fortunes of Henry of Valois improve 

He advances toward the Capital 

The Monk Jacques Clement 

He is encouraged by the Duchess of Montpensier 

Clement comes to St. Cloud 

He wounds the King 

Death of Henry of Valois (August 2, 1589) 

Did he die excommunicated ?...... 

The murderous Deed emanates from a Roman Catholic . 
The Huguenots never plot against the Kings of France 
Pope Sixtus the Fifth lauds Clement . 

A Literary Curiosity 

Character of Henry of Valois .... . 





Arques, Ivry, and the Siege op Paris 

Accession of a Huguenot King .... 

Difficulties of his Position 

His Relations to the Pope 

Huguenot Strength in the South of France 

Religion not determined by Race or Climate 

Paris and Nismes ....... 

Attitude of the late Adherents of Henry the Third 
Good Offices of Agrippa d'Aubigne, Sancy, and others 

Selfishness and Intrigue 

Marshal Biron's Demands ..... 

The Purchase of Loyalty 

Henry refuses to abjure instantly .... 
The Declaration of St. Cloud (August 4, 1589) . 
Ample Guarantees for the Roman Catholic Religion 
Discontent of the Duke of Epernon 
Advice of Duplessis Mornay ..... 
Many of the Huguenots dissatisfied 

Henry vindicates himself 

The Memory of Jacques Clement honored at Paris 

Cardinal Bourbon proclaimed King 

Decree of the Parliament of Toulouse . 

The Parliament of Bordeaux ..... 

Henry's Straits for Money and Ammunition 

He marches into Normandy 



The Conflicts at Arques .... 

Henry returns toward Paris 

Successful Attack upon the Suburbs . 

License of the League .... 

The Duke of Savoy claims the French Crown 

Opposition of the Parliament of Grenoble 

Outrages perpetrated by the Duke\s Troops about Geneva 

Insults offered by the Legate's Escort . 

Singular Surprise of the Castle of Toulon 

Substantial Fruits of Henry's first Campaign . 

Division of France between Henry and the League 

The high Ecclesiastics support the King . 

Contention between the " Sixteen " and Mayenne 

The Legate forbids the Bishops from assembling at Tours 

Audacity of Cardinal Cajetan ..... 

Henry lays Siege to Dreux 

Battle of Ivry (March 14, 1590) . 

The King's brilliant Success 

Henry's own Account .... 

He fails to push his Victory 

Marshal Biron and Francois d'O hinder the Siege of Paris 

Mayenne implores Help from Philip and the Pope . 

Altered Views of Sixtus V. . 

He is denounced as a Miser and a Favorer of Heresy 

Philip II. protests against his Conduct 

Henry appears before Paris 

Active Preparations of the Parisians 

The Sorbonne's Decision against Henry . 

Death of the old Cardinal of Bourbon 

Progress of the Famine .... 

Visitation of the Religious Houses 

The Besieged have recourse to strange Food 

Mission of Gondy and the Archbishop of Lyons 

Henry's reply to the Envoys 

Philip's Claim to Paris 

Pusillanimity of the Capital 

Henry's Tender-heartedness 

Queen Elizabeth finds Fault 

He justifies his Conduct 

Opportune Approach of the Duke of Parma 

The King's Perplexity 

Bad Counsel of Marshal Biron 

The Siege raised (August 30, 1590) 

Brave M. de Canisy 

Parma takes Lagny .... 
Failure of a Night Attack on Paris . 

to the King 




The City is provisioned 231 

Capture of Corbeil by the Duke 231 

Unfaithfulness of Governors of Cities ....... 231 

Henry gives a Furlough to his Troops . ..... 232 

He pursues Parma in his Retreat ....... 233 

The War in the Provinces ....*... 233 

Henry abolishes three Protestant Courts ... * 234 

Duplessis Mornay draws up a Bill for the Relief of the Protestants . 235 

Henry approves, but afterward recalls the Edict .... 235 

A Remonstrance against further Delay 236 

"Huguenot Patience" 237 

The King's Inconsistency 238 

The Parliament of Normandy and the Protestants .... 239 

The Story of Henry's White Plume at Ivry 




Growth of the Tiers Parti, and Henry's Difficult Position 
The Secretary of Lesdiguieres in the Council . 
" Le Jour des Farines" (January 20, 1591) 
Unpopularity and Death of Sixtus V. . . . 

Pope Gregory XIV. supports the League 
Landriano sent as Papal Nuncio .... 
New Bulls issued against Henry 

The Parliament of Chalons orders them to be burned 
And the Nuncio to be arrested .... 
The Bulls introduce Divisions in the Royalist Party 
Ambition of the young Cardinal Bourbon . 
The Tiers Parti summon the King to abjure 
The Remonstrance of Angers .... 
An Appeal to low Motives ..... 

The Remonstrance suppressed .... 
Henry jeers at the Cardinal's Pretensions 
Gregory incites Paris to persevere 
M. de Luxembourg's Letter to the Pope . 
Duplessis Mornay dissuades the King from writing to the 
Instructions prepared for Luxembourg . 

Parliament objects to his Mission 

Henry announces his Purpose to do Justice to the Protestants 

Declaration of Mantes (July, 1591) 

Henry's forcible Address . . . . . . . 





Cardinal Bourbon alone objects .... 

Abrogation of the intolerant " Edicts of July" 

Restoration of the Edicts of Pacification 

La Roche Chandieu dies of Grief 

The Parliament of Tours denounces the Pope 

It registers the Edict in favor of the Protestants 

Retaliatory Action of the Rebel Parliament of Paris 

Scanty Justice done to the Protestants 

Declaration of the Clergy at Chartres . 

Parliament resents their Usurpation 

A French Patriarchate proposed . 

Henry takes Chartres and Noyon 

A Spanish Force lands in Brittany 

Death of La Noue and Chatillon 

Exploits of Lesdiguieres .... 

Battle of Pontcharra (September 19, 1591) 

Murder of President Brisson by the " Seize ! 

Their Unpatriotic Sentiments . 

Their Letter to Philip II. (November 20, 1591) 

Mayenne avenges President Brisson 

Fall of the "Seize" 

Rouen besieged ..... 

Answer of the Rouennais to Henry's Summons 
Litanies and Processions .... 
The Duke of Parma invades France 
Henry wounded at Aumale 
Successful Sortie from Rouen 
Lukewarmness of Biron and others . 
Parma's Help dispensed with 
He is again begged to return 

The Siege abandoned 

Masterly Retreat of the Duke . 
Disloyalty of the Roman Catholic Royalists 
Death of Parma 














The Abjuration 904 

Various Fortunes of War 994 

Successes near Sedan 994 

Losses in Anjou and Maine 986 




Defeat and Death of Antoine Scipion de Joyeuse 

Gains of the Duke of Savoy 

Achievements of Lesdiguieres among the Alps 

And in Piedmont 

Supineness of Henry's Allies .... 
Queen Elizabeth's Capriciousness .... 
Negotiations between Duplessis Mornay and Villeroy 
Mayenne's Secret Expectations .... 

A Virtual Dismemberment of France . 
Duplessis Mornay's Difficult Position 

The Terms agreed upon 

The Huguenot View of the King's Instruction 
A full and fair Discussion ..... 
The Negotiation ends ..... 

Henry's Advances to Clement the Eighth 
The Pope's Brief for the Election of a King 
Cardinal Gondy and Marquis Pisany sent to Italy 
Henry's Letter to Pope Clement . . . 
Gondy forbidden to enter the Papal States . 
Henry tries to deceive Queen Elizabeth . 
His intention to remain a Protestant . 
Paris clamorous for Peace ..... 

Mayenne and the Legate appeal to the Royalists . 
Schomberg and De Thou propose a Peace Conference 
Invitation of the Royalists «, 

Henry answers Mayenne's Manifesto 
His View of a heartless Conversion 
Embarrassment of the League ..... 
Dispute of Mayenne and Feria .... 
Mayenne's Terms with Spain ..... 
The Conference agreed upon .... 
States General of the League ..... 
The Decrees of Trent under Discussion 
The Bishop of Senlis on Spanish Ambition 
President Le Maistre's manly Protest . 

Conference of Suresnes 

Henry intimates his approaching Conversion 
The first Discussion .'.... 

Henry invites the Bishops to Mantes . 
Opposition of the League . 

Remonstrances of the Huguenots 

Henry's Assurances 

Letters of Beza and Jean de l'Espine . 
Appeal of Gabriel d'Amours ..... 
The " Ministres Courtisans " .... 

Rosny encourages Henry to abjure .... 



Agrippa d'Aubigne • 340 

Duplessis Mornay 341 

The King's Attitude 342 

Henry entreats Duplessis Mornay to come ..... 340 

The Protestants not to be invited to the " Instruction " . . . 347 

Catharine of Bourbon ......... 348 

Henry's "Instruction" (July 23, 1593) 349 

The Abjuration (July 25, 1593) 353 

Public Opinion respecting the Act ....... 355 

Letter of Queen Elizabeth 366 


The Edict of Nantes 360 

Change in the Character of the History ...... 359 

Henry still claims to be a Huguenot 360 

His occasional Anxiety of Mind . . . . . . . . 361 

Continued Virulence of the Clergy . ..... 302 

Pope Clement intractable . . . . . . . . . 300 

Mission of Nevers to Rome 363 

Efforts of D'Ossat and Du Perron 305 

Ceremony of the King's Absolution 307 

Conspiracies against Henry's Life 307 

Pierre Barriere . . . . . . . . . * 307 

Jean Chastel ........... : '» ,;v 

Expulsion of the Jesuits . . . . . . . . . 308 

Henry's Successes 800 

He is anointed at Chartres (February 27, 1594) .... 300 

Entry into Paris (March 22, 1594) 370 

Submission of Cities and Leaders . . . . . . . 372 

The Huguenots excluded from many Places ..... 

No Provisions favorable to them ....... 374 

They are not dismayed . . . . . . . . .876 

The Possibility of Persecution 370 

Duplessis Mornay expostulates ....... 

Henry tries to justify his Abjuration 37H 

Huguenot Deputies at Mantes (October, 1593-January, 1594) . 379 

Unsatisfactory Negotiations ........ 380 

Proposed Ordinance of Mantes 381 

The King's Coronation Oath ; '> v ~ 

" Union of Mantes " 388 

Protracted Struggle for Protestant Rights 384 



Dangers from weak Brethren 385 

Political Assembly of Sainte Foy (July, 1594) 386 

Grievances 386 

Political Organization of the Huguenots 388 

Assembly of Saumur (February, 1595) 390 

Assembly of Loudun (April, 1596) 391 

War declared against Spain (January 17, 1595) 391 

The Duke of Mercosur in Brittany 391 

Massacre near La Chataigneraie 393 

The Truce to be revived 394 

Attitude of the Huguenots • 395 

Views of Duplessis Mornay ........ 396 

Of Odet de la None 396 

Concession of the King 398 

The Assembly removes to Vendome, afterward to Saumur . . . 400 

Fallot Amiens (March 11, 1597) 400 

What ought the Huguenots to do ? . . . . . . . 401 

The Assembly's Answer to the King ...... 402 

Schomberg and De Thou 405 

Difficulties in the Way of the Edict 405 

The Assembly at Chatellerault (June, 1597) 407 

Huguenot Support in Arms 410 

Amiens retaken (September, 1597) 412 

Honor due to the Huguenot Assembly 413 

The Edict of Nantes signed (April 13, 1598) 414 

Liberty of Conscience ......... 416 

Education and Charity . . . . . . . . .417 

Cemeteries 418 

Courts of Justice • 418 

Support of Protestant Ministers ....... 419 

Of Garrisons of Cities of Refuge 419 

An Epoch in Modern Civilization 420 

The Peace of Vervins, with Spain (May, 1598) 421 

The Edict not extorted by Force *422 

Opposition of the Clergy and the University 423 

Henry's Address to the Clergy 424 

Modifications made in some Points ....... 425 

Henry's determined Speech to Parliament ..... 425 

The Edict registered (February 25, 1599) 428 

It is welcomed by all reasonable Men 429 

The Edict a Fundamental Law of the Kingdom 429 

Displeasure of Pope Clement the Eighth 431 





After the Edict 434 

A Period of comparative Quiet ........ 434 

Dilatoriness of the Parliaments 435 

The Parliament of Bordeaux 435 

Henry's Address to the Judges 430 

Henry and the Parliament of Toulouse ...... 438 

The Parliament of Rouen 439 

Persistence of the Huguenots 439 

Hopeful Condition of the Churches 440 

Seditious Songs proscribed. " La vache a Colas " .... 441 

Castelmoron a Model of Charity 442 

Sir Edwin Sandys' View 442 

Protestant Statistics 445 

Political Assemblies 446 

Assembly of Saumur (1600) 447 

Of Sainte Foy (October, 1601) 448 

The Deputies General 449 

Assembly of Chatellerault (July, 1606) 450 

Synod of La Rochelle (1607) 451 

Assembly of Jargeaux (1608) 453 

Papal and Jesuit Influence . . . . . . . • 465 

The King's Divorce and Marriage . . . . . . .48$ 

Duplessis Mornay's Book on the Eucharist 457 

Henry's Annoyance .......... 457 

The Bishop of Evreux's Charge 4V.i 

Duplessis and the King ......... 460 

The sixty "Errors" 461 

The Fontainebleau Conference (May 4, 1600) 462 

The Commissioners . . . . . . . . . . ^ ,i '~ 

Pliancy of Judges .......... 463 

Chancellor Bellievre ......... 464 

The Conference opened ......... 166 

It is interrupted .......... 466 

Henry's Elation 466 

Catharine of Bourbon ......... 468 

Henry's Kindness to the Genevese ....... 469 

Fort Sainte Catherine demolished 469 

Rumored Conversion of Theodore Beza ...... 470 

Fran£ois de Sales attempts to bribe him 471 

How Chablais was ' ' converted " 472 

Marshal Biron's Conspiracy 478 

The Jesuit at the Gates of La Rochelle . . . . . .474 



Protestant Education 474 

The State Universities 476 

The eight Protestant Academies, or Universities .... 477 

Erection of spacious Huguenot Temples 479 

Dieppe 480 

Ablon 481 

Charenton 482 

Writing on the Posts and the Gates ....... 484 

Some Huguenot Inscriptions 485 

Assassination of Henry the Fourth (May 14, 1610) .... 486 

Mystery of Ravaillac's Crime 493 

Gondy's Certificate of the Innocence of the Jesuits .... 494 


Northern France at the Accession op Henry the Third. 1574. 

At end of volume.. 







" Saul hatb slain his thousands, and David his ten thou- 
sands." Such was the cry of the League. Its partisans, the 
Guise gains c l er gy> tne P a ^ emissaries of the King of Spain, all 
rSutin g d the f were loud in their praise of the wonderful courage 
Germans. an( j a do| re g S of the Duke of Guise, each man striving 
to outdo his neighbor in magnifying the number of German 
reiters and French Huguenots whom the favorite son of the 
Church had left killed or wounded on the scene of his engage- 
ments with the enemy. The king himself came in for scanty 
commendation or for positive censure, while the Duke of Eper- 
non, his favorite, was all but overwhelmed with curses for in- 
terposing his army between the retreating foreigners and the 
avenging troops of Guise. Solemn Te Deums were indeed 
sung, by royal command, first, when the intimation was given 
that the Swiss mercenaries of the heretics, who had come 
supposing that they were to liberate the King of France, had 
been undeceived and had agreed to return home ; and, again, 
when it was understood that the last of the reiters had passed 


the frontiers. Henry himself, when he returned to the capital, 
two days before Christmas, was received by the people with 
great demonstrations of joy. Loud cries of " Yive le Roi ! w 
and " Noel ! " to which he had long been a stranger, greeted 
him on all sides, as he rode, all booted and spurred, to the 
great church of Notre Dame, to render thanks to Almighty God. 
On the morrow the judges of parliament and the other judi- 
cial and municipal officers flocked to the palace to have the 
honor of kissing his hand. 1 Bonfires were lighted, and other 
demonstrations were ordered in the public squares, but the 
populace was at heart irresponsive to these suggestions of joy. 
Men murmured at the street corners against the compact made 
with the Germans. The queen mother herself encouraged the 
discontent, manifesting little gladness at her son's return, and 
telling everybody that, had he not interfered, the Duke of 
Guise would have routed the foreign army. 2 The preachers 
loudly maintained from the pulpit that, but for Guise, the ark 
of the Lord would have fallen into the hands of the Philistines. 
The theologians of the Sorbonne even went farther, and, in a 
session not so secretly held but that the king got wind of it, 
took occasion to declare the opinion that unfaithful or incom- 
petent princes might be deprived of their government, just as 
suspected guardians could be removed from their positions of 
trust. 3 

1 Lettres d'Etienne Pasquier (Edit. Feugere), ii. 303: "Le Roy y est arrive 
fort applaudy du menu peuple, disant tout hault que les ligueurs ne faisoient 
que menacer, mais que le Roy avoit chasse les estrangers." Letter of Henry 
of Navarre, ubi infra. 

2 " La Royue-mere n'a monstre joye de son arrivee ; ains dit partout que, 
sans le Roy, monsieur de Guyse les eust desfaicts." Henry of Navarre to the 
Duchess of Grammont, January 12, 1588, Lettres missives ii. 331. 

3 " Et la dessus, la Sorbonne — c'est-a-dire trente ou quarante pedants et 
maistres es ars crottes, qui apres graces traictent des sceptres et des couronnes 
— firent unresultat secret, et nontoutefois si secret qu'on soit adverti et le Roy 
des premiers, qu'on pouvoitoster le gouvernement aux princes qu'on ne trouvoit 
pas tels qu'il faloit, comme 1' administration au tuteur qu'on avoit pour suspect. 
Ce sont les propres termes de l'arreste de la Sorbonne, fait en leur college, le 
mercredi 16 du present mois [Decembre] et an 1587." Lestoile, i. 233, 834 
It will be seen that, in the course of events, the Roman Catholic theologians 
of Paris had come to adopt views, respecting the right of the people to depose 


The most keen and dispassionate of observers were not slow, 
indeed, in coming to the conclusion that the capital had had a 
Franoisde nai ' row escape from falling into the hands of the in- 
chatmon. vading force, agreeing, however, that its deliverance 
was due, not to the generalship of Guise, but to the incredible 
folly of the German leaders. They recognized the fact that in 
the army of the reiters there was but one commander with 
mind so clear and will so firm and tenacious of its purpose, 
that, had his counsels been followed, victory must have perched 
on the standards of the Huguenots. That commander was 
Coligny's son. " If Chatillon had been obeyed," wrote the 
Tuscan ambassador, " we should to-day have been mourning 
where we are triumphant." And grave Etienne Pasquier 
echoed the same sentiment. " To tell the truth, had the reiters 
followed his advice and taken the road he pointed out to them, our 
affairs would not have turned out so well as they have done. " x 

Meanwhile never had the king manifested more distinctly 
the inherent weakness of his character than he did at the pres- 
ent critical "juncture. The machinations of the League 

The king , . , . . , . , . . , , , . 

fearstopun- produced in his mind indignation and excited a thirst 

ish the Redi- 

tious preach- for revenge which could never be slaked save by the 
blood of his enemies, yet they evoked no prompt and 
vigorous action on his part. He could storm and utter impre- 
cations and dire threats, but he was afraid to take the risk of 

vicious or incompetent kings, not very dissimilar to those which the Protestant 
Francis Hotman had propounded, a few years before, in his " Franco Gallia." 
The anti-monarchical tendencies of the League and its adherents have been 
treated at length by Labitte, De la democratic chez les predicateurs de la Ligue 
(Paris, 1841). Bayle, in his Dictionary, long since defended Hotman against 
the reproach of having furnished weapons for the enemy to turn against him- 
self, and especially to the famous Louis d'Orleans, in his " Advertissement 
des Catholiques Anglois." " As long as the world will be a world," playfully 
observes Bayle, " there will be everywhere ambulatory doctrines, dependent 
on times and places; true transitory birds, which are in one country in the 
summer, and in another in the winter ; wandering lights that, like the Car- 
tesian comets, illuminate successively several vortices. Whoever pretends to 
set up for a censor upon this occasion, will be looked on as a morose critic, 
and a native of Plato's commonwealth." 

1 Letter of Cavriana, January 4, 1588, Negociations avec la Toscane, iv. 
742 ; Lettres d'Etienne Pasquier (Edit. Feugere), ii. 303. 


putting these threats into execution. Where the anger of his 
grandfather, the first Francis, would scarcely have been satis- 
fied without the decapitation of half-a-dozen of the most ob- 
noxious of the theologians, the spite of Henry went no farther 
than to induce him to summon Parliament and Sorbonne to the 
Palace of the Louvre, to listen to a severe reprimand. But 
neither for Parliament and Sorbonne, nor for seditious preach- 
ers like insolent Boucher, curate of Saint Benoit, the recipient 
of the monarch's most terrible menaces, was punishment in 
store. In point of fact, Boucher and his fellows were rather 
the gainers by reason of the display of the king's impotent 
fury ; inasmuch as they obtained thereby a cheap notoriety, 
and were held by the people to be confessors, if not martyr.-. 
in the cause of God, the Holy Virgin, and all the Saints. So, 
too, when the Duchess of Montpensier was reported to have re- 
peated the threat of the wife of Marshal Betz, and remarked 
" that she carried in her belt the pair of scissors that would 
give the third crown to friar Henry of Valois," the king merely 
ordered her to leave Paris for this piece of impudence and for 
her continual intrigues with the preachers, instead of consign- 
ing her forthwith to a dungeon in the Bastile or the Castle of 
Yincennes. Indeed, Henry had not given up the hope that he 
might yet checkmate Guise by supplanting him and making 
himself head of the party now so devotedly attached to the 
Lorraine princes. His eyes were not opened even by rumors 
that Guise had recently gone in disguise to Home, where he 
remained three days, and that the pope had sent to the young 
chief of the League a sword blessed by himself, thus constitut- 
ing him the champion of the Church. 1 

It would seem to have been for the purpose of proving his 

unimpeachable catholicity, as well as attesting his dialectic 

skill, that Ilenrv of Yalois about this time determined 

He attempts . ' , , , . . 

to convert to trv his hand at the conversion of heretics. I wo 

heretics v 

young women, daughters of one Jacques Foucaud, 
lately a procureur in the Parliament of Paris, had been thrown 
into prison on the simple charge of being obstinate and heady 

1 See Lestoile, i. 235, 236, 244. 


Huguenots. The younger was unmarried, the elder was the 
widow of one Jean Sureau, of Montargis, and the mother of 
three small children. One day, at the end of January, the king 
mustered up sufficient resolution to forego his ignoble pastimes 
and visit the Chatelet, where the two Huguenots were confined. 
TheFoucaud ^Vhen brought into his presence the women main- 
sisters, tained their reputation for attachment to their creed, 
and for clear understanding of its articles. Though he talked 
long, Henry made no progress. To say the truth, his discourse 
amounted to little more than promises that if they would but 
consent to return to mass, they should instantly be set at liberty. 
When they excused themselves, on the ground of conscience, 
the king could endure it no longer, but exclaimed : " I see very 
well how the case stands : you are obstinate women who will 
be converted only by means of fire." The two priests, whom 
Henry had prudently brought with him, next plied the girls for 
a full hour with their arguments, but succeeded no better. The 
Huguenot prisoners knew the Holy Scriptures well, and could 
instantly answer the theologians by the apt quotation of particu- 
lar passages. 1 

A more distinguished victim of religious intolerance was at 
the same time languishing behind the thick walls of the Bastile, 
paiissy, the an( ^ him, too > * ne king thought fit to honor with a visit, 
potter. ^hjg was no ther than Bernard Paiissy, the Potter, 

now a man about seventy-eight years of age. Of humble and 
obscure parentage, he had, nearly fifty years before the time of 
which I am now treating, begun, in the city of Saintes, a se- 
ries of remarkable experiments with the view of discovering a 
method of producing an enamel that would make of the rough 
pottery, with which alone he was acquainted, a proper material 
for the realization of his artistic thought. Undaunted by pov- 
erty and by frequent disappointments, the patient worker at 
last succeeded in his search. After fifteen years, during which 
he was treated by the educated as a visionary, and looked upon 
with suspicion by the ignorant as a cheat, and possibly a dealer 
in magical arts, Paiissy found the way to fame and competence 

1 Ibid.,i. 244, 245. 


opening before him. Anne de Montmorency became his patron, 
and Catharine de' Medici, enchanted by the elegance of his de- 
signs, conferred upon him the singular title of " inventeur des 
rustiques h'gulines du roi," and employed him in decorating the 
gardens of the new palace of the Tuileries. Meantime, Palissy 
had in Saintes received the doctrines of the Reformation at the 
hands of some obscure monks who suffered martyrdom in the 
last days of the reign of Francis the First. The lowly potter 
was no trimmer in matters of religion, but used voice as well as 
pen in the dissemination of his new faith. Twice had he conse- 
quently been in peril of his life. Imprisoned as a heretic during 
the first civil war, he obtained his release through the intercession 
of the constable with the queen mother. Ten years later, Cath- 
arine herself interposed to save him from death in the massacre 
of Saint Bartholomew's Day. Now, for a third time, the artisan 
whom his contemporaries knew only as a worker in clay, but 
whom posterity has come to recognize as a marvellous thinker 
and a master of the French language excelled bv few 

Henry visits _ . . -i • i 1 i -r-» 

him in the ot Ins age, was menaced with death as a 1 rotestant. 
Henry condescended to visit him, and endeavor to 
persuade him to prolong a life, so useful to his royal master, 
by abjuring the religion of Calvin and Beza. 

"My good fellow," said he, "for forty -five years you have 
been in the service of the queen my mother and in mine, and 
we have endured your living in your religion through fires and 
massacres. But now I am so hard pressed by the Guises and 
my people, that I have been compelled, despite my own wishes, 
to throw you and these two poor women into prison. They will 
be burned, and you also, if you do not suffer yourself to be con- 

To which the intrepid potter replied : 

" Sire, Count Maulevrier came yesterda} T , and, in your name. 
promised the two sisters their lives on the most degrading con- 
dition. 1 They answered that they would be martyrs for their 
own honor as well as for the honor of God. You have told me 
several times that you pitied me, but it is I that pity you, who 

1 "Si elles vouloient vous donner chaeune une nuit." 


have uttered these words : ' I am compelled.' That was not 
speaking as a king. These girls and I, who have a portion in 
the kingdom of heaven, will teach you this royal speech, that 
neither the Guisards, nor all your people, nor you yourself can 
ever constrain a potter to bow the knee before images." J 

Unfortunately, though Henry did not carry out his threat to 
bring his Huguenot captives at once to the stake, he lacked the 
magnanimity to release them. Palissy was left to languish and 
die in the Bastile, of old age and hard usage ; while the two 
Huguenot women, after exchanging the royal custody for the 
tender mercies of the League, were brought out, four or five 

months later, to suffer death on the Place de Greve. 
theFoucaud On the twenty-eighth of June, 1588, the bloodthirsty 

mob of Paris again beheld a grateful sight to which 
it had for some time been a stranger. By sentence of the pro- 
vost, confirmed by decree of parliament, the sisters were to be 
hung upon the gallows until dead, and their bodies to be con- 
signed to the flames. They endured the ignominious punish- 
ment with exemplary constancy, refusing to recant, and testify- 
ing their faith until the gag, cruelly inserted in their mouths, 
prevented them from uttering words that might touch the hearts 
or convince the minds of those present. The sight of so much 
innocence and fortitude might have melted a savage to com- 
passion ; it only kindled the Parisian mob to fury. It was in- 

1 The fearless speech of Palissy rests upon the authority of Agrippa d'Au- 
bigne, who tells the story in his Histoire universelle, iii. 216 (book 3, chap. 1), 
and more fully in his Confession catholique de Sancy (reprinted in the Mc- 
moires de Henry III.), book 2, chap. 7, " De l'impudence des Huguenots," 
p. 422. Despite the attempt of M. Louis Audiat, in his inordinately long 
communications to the Bulletin de la Societe de Thist. du Prot fran^ais, for 
December, 1868, and January, 1869, I cannot but regard the speech as authen- 
tic, although not improbably somewhat affected in its form by the epigram- 
matic style of the narrator. D'Aubigne, it may be remarked, calls the girls 
Sureau, after the name of the husband of Radegonde, instead of Foucaud or 
Foucault, as they are designated by Lestoile and La Fosse. The illustrious 
Pierre du Moulin, in his autobiography, tells us that he arrived in Paris as a 
lad of twenty, shortly before the martyrdom, to which he refers in these 
words: "Monsieur de Guise, qui dominoit a Paris, fit pendre deux filles, 
qu'on nommoit les Suraut, qui estoient soeurs, pour la religion." Bulletin de 
la Societe de 1 hist, du Prot. francais, vii. (1858) 177. 


sufferable that Huguenots should be permitted to die so pain- 
less a death, defying, as it were, the impotent justice of the 
law. The younger of the two women had, indeed, speedily 
passed beyond the reach of human malice ; the noose had done 
its office well. The elder still lingered in the throes of death. 
Xot a moment was to be lost. The rabble rushed forward ; the 
rope was cut, and the quivering form of the unfortunate woman 
was rescued from hanging, only to be thrown yet alive upon 
the fire prepared to receive her corpse. 1 

Meanwhile, if Henry of Valois had but poor success in the 

new part he undertook to act as a " converter of heretics,'' he 

showed himself as much of an adept as ever in his 

Royal revels. i o • • 

old character or master or the revels. Striving to 
drown the thought of the existence of League and Huguenot, 
of the discontent of men persecuted for their religion, of the 
murmuring of provinces borne down by the intolerable weight 
of excessive taxation, and of the ambitious designs of leaders 
determined never to lay aside their arms, he plunged from time to 
time, with all his old zest, in frivolous amusements and prodigal 
expenditures. In February, at the solicitation of some ladies of 
his court, he gave orders to have the fair of Saint Germain pro- 
longed for six days beyond its usual term, and diverted himself 
and his minions by allowing them to indulge in coarse and in- 
sulting conduct toward the women in attendance, both young 
and old. 2 The Emperor Xero was not, in outward appearance 
at least, more unconcerned while Rome was burning, than the 
last Yalois king sometimes seemed to be at a period when the 
Haines of civil commotion had almost reached the throne it 

Not so was it with the Duke of Guise and his cohort of con- 
spirators against king and country. Their cause had made 
good progress these past months, and they were resolved that 
it should not now meet with any reverse. Peace could not for 

1 Lestoile, i. 258 ; Jelian de la Fosse, 219 ; Haag, France protestante. s. v. 
Foucault, v. 155. The " cure ligueur," who correctly places the execution 
"durant le temps que Ton parlementoit," is also careful to note that the 
sisters were put to death " for simply heresy, without being accused of auy 
other crime." 

* Lestoile, i. 245. 


a moment be dreamed of ; and, fortunately for them, the cloak 
of religion was conveniently near at hand. The garment was 
too ragged from hard usage and too flimsy in its original text- 
ure altogether to conceal their criminal designs, but it still 
hung together sufficiently well to hide from the eyes of the un- 
discriminating masses of the people the hideous nakedness of 
projects needing only to be fully seen to be hated and loathed. 
It was deemed a propitious time for a fresh proclamation. As 
™ T the fruit of a conference between the heads of the 

The League 

theTrScTe" League, held in the city of Nancy, late in January and 
of Nancy. [ n ^\ ie ear ]y p ar t £ the ensuing month, some "Arti- 
cles " were given to the world, containing the demands to be 
made of the king. Henry must more openly join the League 
and remove from about him such objectionable officers of state 
as shall be pointed out to him. He must establish the decrees 
of the Council of Trent, and set on foot the Holy Inquisition, 
at least in the chief cities. He must permit the ecclesiastics to 
redeem their alienated property, put new places in the hands of 
the League, furnish pay for troops to be maintained in Lor- 
raine and thereabouts with the view of preventing the entrance 
of a new army from Germany. In order to do all this, and 
to continue the war already begun, the goods of all heretics 
and their associates must be sold at the earliest moment, while 
all persons reputed, since the year 1560, to have been guilty of 
heresy must be required to pay yearly, for the maintenance of 
the war, one-third, or at the least one-fourth, of their incomes. 
A final demand respected the amenities of the war itself. " The 
life of no prisoner shall be spared," it is truculently provided, 
" save upon his giving valid assurance that he will be a good 
Catholic, and paying the full value of his possessions, if these 
have not already been sold. In case they have been sold, he 
shall renounce all rights he might claim in them, and serve for 
three years or more in whatever capacity it may be desired to 
employ him." ! 

1 The articles of Nancy have heen frequently printed. See Memoires de la 
Ligue, ii. 293; Memoires de Nevers, i. 723; Agrippa d Aubigne, iii. 68; Re- 
cueil des choses memorables, 657 ; De Thou, vii. (book 90) 172, etc. 


The manifesto undoubtedly had its serious purpose, and that 
purpose it might possibly accomplish ; but some provision- 
were sufficiently absurd, as pamphleteers in the Huguenot in- 
terest were not slow to perceive. The memory of Coutras was 
yet fresh in men's minds, and it could be shown to be quite as 
probable that Roman Catholic prisoners might soon be plead- 
ing for clemency from Protestant captors, as that Protestants 
would have occasion to beg for their lives at the hands of 
Roman Catholics. As to the sale of the property of the Hu- 
guenots and their allies, the articles revealed a simplicity on the 
part of their authors which was well-nigh touching. What 
bidder would be sufficiently bold to offer to purchase the lands 
of so powerful a noble as the Duke of Montmorency ? "Where 
would the unlucky officer of the law be found who would ven- 
ture to undertake the execution of the mandate of confiscation 
upon the possessions of the Huguenots of Languedoc and Dauph- 
iny and Guyenne, men who hitherto had set at defiance not 
sergeants and ushers, but forces of armed men \ ' 

Peace was quite out of the question, whether Henry of Valois 
should comply or refuse to comply with the League's demands. 
The zeai of Mendoza was well satisfied with his work, and wrote 
Spanish 6 " ^ rom -Paris to his master in the Escorial, that it was 
ambassador. c j ear fa^ Mucins (Guise) and his friends were fully 
resolved to oppose the conclusion of a general peace, and equally 
determined to prevent the King of France from giving Philip 
the Second the slightest uneasiness. The Spanish ambassador 
felt himself secure in the saddle, and lightly held the reins. 
Guise and his fellows would go just where and just so fast as 
their master wished them to go. "I have had no need," he 
significantly wrote to Philip, " of making them feel the spur 
any farther." 2 

Don Bernardino must, indeed, have been very hard to satisfy 

1 See the running commentary, article by article, written, with his accus- 
tomed vivacity, by Duplessis Mornay, and put forth ostensibly by a Roman 
Catholic. Memoires de Duplessis Mornay. iv. 1GS. etc., and Memoires de la 
Ligue, ii. 293, etc. 

2 Mendoza to Philip II., February 25, 1588, De Croze, ii. 316. 


had lie not been pleased with Guise's docility. The secret cor- 
respondence, brought to light first in our times, which was 
kept up between the Spanish ambassador and his sovereign, 
and between the Spanish ambassador and Guise, shows that 
there was not a step taken by the French conspirators without 
consulting Mendoza, and scarcely a step that he had not him- 
self dictated. Thus, when, as was customary at the close of 
wars, the Duke of Epernon was about to despatch the king's 
troops to quarters in Picardy, it was Mendoza that advised 
Guise to write in all diligence to the cities of that border prov- 
ince, instructing them to be on their guard, and by no means to 
admit the royal garrisons. 1 

Into the faithful ear of Philip's envoy, whom he trusted more 
than his own brother, as he trusted Philip more than his own 
lawful sovereign, Guise poured unreservedly the secrets which 
he shrank from confiding even to his ally, the Prince of Parma. 
The King of France, more and more alarmed at the progress of 
the plots daily brought to his notice, but reluctant to give him- 
self over as a slave, bound hand and foot, by acceding to the 
The king la- terms dictated to him in the Articles of Nancy, made 
towinback SSly an effort to win Guise back by kindness and by prom- 
Gmse. | geg ^ jj e gen £ Bellievre and La Guiche to invite the 

duke to give him advice respecting the campaign against the 
Huguenots of Guyenne, and to assure him that if he would 
accompany his majesty in that direction he would receive the 
most flattering treatment. He took the same opportunity to 
strive to induce the head of the League to arrange matters in 
Picardy, and to consent to a reconciliation with the chief royal 
favorite, the Duke of fipernon. But, for all answer, the envoys 
of Henry received only empty promises that he would con- 
sult his confederates, without whose participation he could 
conclude nothing. Equally fruitless was the negotiation to 
break up the treasonable correspondence and intrigue outside 
of the kingdom. It only furnished occasion to Guise to write 

1 Compare Guise's " memoire," sent to Mendoza with a letter dated February 
8, 1588, and Mendoza's despatch to Philip II., of February 25, in De Croze, 
Documents, ii. 314, 317. 


effusively to Philip's ambassador an epistle from which we learn 
that the author of a war that had brought bloodshed untold 
into France, and immeasurable misery into thousands of homes, 
could find a parallel for his trials nowhere save in those of the 
Blessed Redeemer. "They furthermore set forth," said he, 
" that if I would renounce all understandings in Spain as well 
as at Rome, the king would honor me with many benefits and 
charges worthy of my dignity, with a world of extraordinary 
offers throwing more light upon their artifices, which I liken 
to the temptation which the devil directed against our Lord 
on the mountain. And never shall I forsake the resolution 
that I have adopted to pursue with constancy the blessedness 
which it has pleased God to conduct happily up to this present 
hour ; being well assured that I shall ever find good angels to 
bear me up and to avert the evil which my enemies would like 
to inflict upon me." ' 

Manifestly no hope was to be found in this direction. In fact, 
it can scarcely be supposed that Henry of Valois had ever been 
very sanguine of success with so perfidious a noble, the represen- 
tative of a family which appeared to have renounced 

He turns to . ° X1 . 

Queen Eliza- every tie or duty and lovalty to its liege lord in favor 

beth for help. * . ■, , -, , " tV ^ 

oi his rival beyond the Pyrenees. Contemporane- 
ously with the mission of Bellievre, therefore, or even a little 
before the interview of that able diplomatist with Guise, Henry 
had himself held a remarkable conference, in an obscure part of 
Paris, with the ambassador of the English queen. 

To the king in his perplexity but one remedy for present and 
prospective evils seemed possible. Surrounded by faithless ad- 
visers, threatened by the insatiable ambition of the Guises with 
Tm ™ *.„„ dangers almost too terrible to contemplate, sensible 

Importance » r 

Henr nV ofNa g tnat % flagrant vices he had irretrievably forfeited 
varre. ^he es teem and respect of all good men, and had 

alienated the loyalty of a people until now distinguished for 
devotion to the monarch, Henry of Yalois turned, as a last 
resort, to a gallant prince who, if not free from conspicuous 

1 Mucius (Guise) to Mendoza, March 9, 1588, in De Croze, Documents, ii. 
318, 319. 


defects of character, was, at least, frank, courageous, and de- 
cided — a man who, whatever might be said to his disadvantage, 
had never been accused of womanish fears. Could the King 
of Navarre but be persuaded to renounce his infatuation for 
" the religion " and forget that he was son of brave Jeanne 
d'Albret — still better, could he bring with him in his change of 
faith his perverse cousin, the Prince of Conde — the half, nay, 
the whole of the troubles of the King of France would be over. 
No objection could then be urged, no rebellion justified, because 
of the heterodoxy of the prospective successor to the throne. The 
present holder of that somewhat precarious possession would 
then be left in peace to pass his remaining days in the congenial 
society of his minions, collecting puppies or primers, according 
to his preferences, revelling in filthy stories and still worse prac- 
tices, and leaving the management of the affairs of state to hands 
very willing to be intrusted with them — notably those of the in- 
defatigable queen mother. But how to induce Henry of Navarre 
to take the decided step — this was the difficult problem to solve. 
Hitherto every attempt had proved unavailing — from the 
time of Biron's mission in 1577 down to that of Lenoncourt in 
1585, and that of M. de Sainte Colombe in this very year. To 
every appeal the same answer was returned : " I cannot do vio- 
lence to my conscience. A man does not change his religion as 
he lays aside one coat or one shirt for another. However, I am 
ready to listen to instruction, and shall submit to the decisions 
of a council of the church, national or general, if lawfully con- 
vened." Here was just encouragement enough offered to lead 
to the opinion that the King of Navarre might yet be won over. 
In fact, though the Huguenots do not seem to have become 
seriously alarmed, although staunch Protestants like Duplessis 
Mornay — men beyond the suspicion of complicity in dishonest 
intrigues — even drafted the sentences that now strike us as 
wonderfully significant in the light of subsequent events, there 
were not a few persons of the Roman Catholic party upon whom 
the repeated allusions to a possible " instruction " made a pro- 
found impression. 1 

1 See above, vol. i., chapter v., p. 342. 


Knowing no better way of reaching the Bearaais, Henry of 
Valois had recourse, at this crisis, to Queen Elizabeth, and se- 
cretly begged the interposition of a princess whose offers of 
mediation between him and his Huguenot subjects he had, not 
long since, openly and somewhat ostentatiously declined. 

One winter's night — it was late in the month of February — 
Sir Edward Stafford, the English ambassador, received from 
the king a request that he would at once accompany the mes- 
senger and come to see him on matters of importance. So press- 
ing a summons could not be declined. Accordingly, conducted 
by the unknown person who had brought it, the 
holds a secret English ambassador, after having been purposely led 
with sir Ed- by a roundabout way through the tortuous streets of 
' Paris, soon found himself in a strange house, where, 
although other voices were heard in the distance, he met his 
majesty alone. Of the interview Stafford informed the queen 
in a despatch of the most secret character. 

Henry began by exacting of his guest the most solemn assur- 
ances that he would divulge to no living person save the queen 
herself what w T as now to be confided to his keeping. "I am 
about to deal plainly with you," he said, " and to lay my state 
more open to the queen than ever I did to any other person. 
I am well content, however, that the queen should take advice 
of any of her secret counsellors whom it ma}' please her to con- 
sult ; fori know that her majesty has about her men respecting 
whom she may be sure that they will do nothing beyond her 
commandment. I would with all my heart that I might give 
of my own blood to have such counsellors myself — men that 
would depend upon no one else but upon my will. Then would 
not my affairs be trembling in the balance, as they are at pres- 
ent." After this preamble, not wanting in pathetic significance, 
he informed Stafford that his last message to Queen Elizabeth, 
sent through Secretary Pinart, had been such as it was because 
Catharine de' Medici and the whole council insisted that lie 
should desire her majesty not to meddle in the affairs of France. 
And now he disclosed the purpose for which the audience had 
been granted. "I have sent for you," said the kinir. " in order 
that no one may suspect that I want anything of the queen. 


and through you to beseech her with all my heart to grant my 
request, without making it known to any one that it came from 
me ; because the Huguenots can keep no secret. I beg her 
majesty to persuade the King of Navarre to have a care for his 
estate and to accommodate himself with me, in such sort that 
the League may have no pretext left to it for ruining France 
and me." 

Upon this, an animated discussion arose. Stafford assured 
the king that Queen Elizabeth could as little attempt to influ- 
ence Henry of Navarre to renounce Protestantism, as she had 
influenced him to adopt it. She could not meddle with his re- 
ligion. If, however, Henry's own judgment were to lead him 
to take this step for the good of his estate, she would interfere 
neither with his conscience nor with his soul. " I will deal 
with you," replied the king, "as plainly as if you were my 
ghostly father. I am, in truth, so strongly attached to my re- 
ligion that I would gladly have sacrificed a piece of my king- 
dom or a part of my blood that all the world, but especially 
all France, should belong to it. But I am not so much of a 
bigot ] as to let my kingdom and myself go to ruin rather than 
grant both religious liberty and the exercise of Protestant wor- 
ship, as I have already granted them and would willingly grant 
them again. But it is now out of my power to do this, or, in- 
deed, to restore peace." From this Henry the Third proceeded 
to reveal a picture of his own most secret desires and purposes, 
respecting which we need not his majesty's asseverations to 
know beyond all controversy that he had never disclosed it be- 
His hopes ^ ore to mort al eye. " My last hope was to have se- 
thearmyo" cure( l peace by means of the reiters. If they had had 
the reiters. either valor or discretion, they might have compelled 
the adherents of the League to fall on their knees and beg for 
the restoration of that which they had broken in arms. This 
was what I looked for and expected. This was the only reason 
that I did not avail myself of the many offers I received from 
the queen to arrest their coming. I gave them every oppor- 

1 " He was not so much a ' bigot,' as he termed it, which in English is ' over- 
superstitious. ' " 

Vol. II.— 2 


tunity to accomplish their designs if they could only have em- 
braced them, and to keep far away from me ; as I remained far 
away from them, until they must needs come and seek me out, 
and by their mismanagement bring me to sucli a pass that the 
world almost pointed the finger at me. Had they ravaged Lor- 
raine and those parts of Champagne and Burgundy that were 
devoted to the League, leaving none unspoiled that adhered to 
that party, my enemies would soon have been more glad to sue 
for peace than they had been to fight. Instead of which, the 
reiters came and sought me out, and permitted themselves to be 
brought so completely in my hands that I must either do as I 
did or give the League the advantage they desired to gain over 
me by appropriating the credit of the whole success.'' After 
which Henry went on to claim that he alone had been the in- 
strument of saving the lives of those of the reiters that esca 
and to blame the stupidity of the leaders who had effectually 
precluded the possibility of making good use of any future 
armies that might come in from Germany.' 

Again the king returned to the charge, and insisted that in 
the conversion of Henry of Navarre lay the only hope of over- 
throwing the League, and again did Queen Elizabeth's faithful 
ambassador oppose. lie saw not, he said, how her ma 
could open her mouth to Navarre on such a subject. Moreover, 
if she did, he saw not how Navarre could yield, for he had no 
power over the Prince of Conde ; and, if both Xavarre and 
Conde should yield, there were great numbers of Protestants 
and a great number of towns and strongholds over which Na- 
varre would lose all control the moment he should forsake his 
faith. The pretext of religion would still remain for the League 
to make use of. "Not so," replied the king, " for the rest of 
the Protestants would more easily be brought to think opon 

1 When Stafford subsequently sounded the king to discover whether his 
majesty would be displeased should the reiters return and lay waste Lorraine, 
etc., but come no farther, Henry seemed not to be displeased at the suggestion ; 
"for these were his very words, ' Le diable les emporte, qu'ils n'y out de- 
meure dernierement, canaille qu'ils sont, et ne . . chercher leur mal- 

heur, et [trouver ceux] qui ne les demandoient pas, sans faire ce qu'ils [deb- 
voient] et pouvoient aizement faire.' " 


their consciences and dispose themselves to submission. At any 
rate, the popular fear based upon the fact that the next two 
princes in the succession are Huguenots would cease, and the 
League would be brought back to the same state that they were 
in when the Duke of Anjou was alive. At that time they could 
not find means to have this color (pretext) to put out their 
horns, and now, if that cause ceased, they would be compelled 
to pull in their horns, to their utter overthrow. 1 ' To this spe- 
cious argument Stafford promptly replied that, were he a mem- 
ber of the King of Navarre's council, and that prince were to 
ask him to give his opinion without meddling with the matter 
of his conscience, he would advise him to act as the King of 
France desired ; but that, were he a member of the council of 
the King of France, he would rather be torn in pieces than ad- 
vise the latter to desire Navarre's conversion. On the contrary, 
he would do all in his power to prevent it. He would prefer 
that his religion should remain a bar in the way of Navarre's 
attempting anything to the king's disadvantage, rather than 
that, this obstacle having been removed, the King of Navarre 
should come forth from eclipse, like the sun rising clear to be 
worshipped by all. Sir Edward Stafford's metaphors might be 
somewhat mixed, but there was certainly some sound sense in 
what he said. So Henry himself seems to have thought. "At 
length, with thanks he told me," wrote the ambassador, " that 
every one could rule a shrewd w T ife but he that had her, and 
that he that had her could tell worse the way to rule her, and 
that was his case ; but that he had rather hazard the pulling 
of them (the League) down with the King of Navarre, which 
he saw a possibility in, and stand upon those hazards, than in 
letting them have that color (pretext) still, to make it an im- 
possible thing to pull them ever upon their knees, but to see 
them strengthen in despite of him daily. ... As for the 
King of Navarre, having once the pretence of his religion and 
then foregone it, the pretence of the Catholic religion would 
never serve the King of Navarre to hurt him in his time." 

Such was the sorry condition in which Henry of Yalois 
portrayed himself before the eyes of the English ambassador 
— a king reduced to ask, in the utmost confidence, the media- 


tion of a foreign queen between himself and his subjects, a 
mediation opposed by his mother and all his council as " a 
thing unhonorable to him to desire it ; " — a king compelled t< i 
say of himself, " that his case, if it were well weighed, were 
both to be regarded, pitied, and helped ; that he had not man v 
to trust to, when his nearest failed him, and they that with all 
kind of bonds were most tied to him.' 1 ' 

Not many days after the memorable interview just related. 
an event took place of much moment both to Huguenots and 
to Roman Catholics. This event was the sudden death of the 
King of Navarre's cousin, Henry of Conde 

In a preceding chapter it has been seen with what universal 
manifestations of joy the Protestants of the kingdom received 
the tidings of the marriage of the prince to an heiress profess- 
ing his own faith, Catharine Charlotte de la Tremouille.' Nbl 
quite two years had elapsed, and now came the news that the 
Death of the bridegroom of so few months had been put out of 
Condi °March tne wa 7 by poison administered, it was stoutly main- 
5,1588. tained, by instigation of the princess herself. Accu- 

sations of this kind were indeed frequent in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, and in many cases they were wholly groundless. Greater 
intelligence and a more profound knowledge of medicine than 
had then been attained, would, we must charitably believe, have 

1 The long and important letter of Sir Edward Stafford to the qui 
February 25, 158|, is given entire in Hardwick's State Papers London, 1778 
i. 251-264. What Mr. Froude inserts in a note to Ins History of Englan I 
410-3, might be taken as intended for a cop}' of the letter taken from the M >. 
in the State Paper Office, but, in most places, is rather a condensation, not 
always accurate, of the original document. Of more consequence, how- 
ever, are Mr. Fronde's extraordinary statements in the text, where h*' 
"He [Henry III.] took the field himself to oppose them, deliberately giving 
them opportunities to defeat him. When they would not use them, he fell 
back upon the Loire, leaving Lorraine and Burgundy open to them to overrun 
and destroy. . . . Unfortunately, they followed him into the heart of 
France," etc. All this is just the opposite of what was really the case, and 
what the king stated to Stafford. His majesty, instead of giving the reiters an 
opportunity to defeat him, studiously kept out of their way, never going near 
to the borders, and, of course, never " falling back upon the Loire." 

2 Supra, vol. i., chapter vi., p. 397. 


accounted on natural grounds for many unexpected deaths for 
which ignorance could find no explanation save in some de- 
structive drug or perfume concocted and given by an enemy. 
As a general thing, the accusation of poisoning is only less sus- 
picious than the equally convenient charge of murder by the 
use of incantation and witchcraft. Unfortunately, however, 
the case now in question seems hardly to fall under the ordinary 
conditions, and it is perhaps too great a stretch of scepticism to 
doubt the guilt of the miserable wife. The rude post-mortem 
examination which was made apparently establishes the fact that 
the prince died neither from disease nor from the results of over- 
exercise. The precipitate flight of two of his servants pointed 
distinctly to the instruments employed, while the detection and 
conviction of a superior officer of the household, who had sup- 
plied them money to make their escape, gave scarcely less un- 
mistakable evidence of the source from which the blow was 

However this may be, the unhappy Brillaut, from whom 
confessions of complicity had been wrung by the tortures of the 
rack, paid the penalty of his crime or his weakness by being 
dragged on a hurdle through the streets of Saint Jean d'Angely, 
and then torn asunder by four horses, on the great square of 
that city. The princess herself barely escaped the most rigor- 
ous treatment. Tried by commissioners appointed by the King 
of Navarre, she was by their sentence to have been 

Trial and im- \ 

prisonmentof questioned on the rack. Her pregnancy saved her 

the princess. * . . .. . ,..,.., ,. 

from being submitted to this indignity, by rendering it 
necessary to adjourn the employment of torture until forty days 
from her confinement should have elapsed. In the public joy 
at the birth of a new prince of the blood, the harsh order was 
never put into execution ; but the princess remained six years 
in close imprisonment. At length, long after the time of which 
I am now writing, she obtained from the Parliament of Paris, 
to which she had appealed as by marriage a princess of the 
blood, a decision annulling all proceedings against her and set- 
ting her free. To so favorable an issue, her abjuration of Pro- 
testantism, and the desire of the judges to avoid throwing any 
doubts upon the legitimacy of a boy whom events might yet 


call to the throne of France, may well be supposed to have con- 
duced. 1 

The death of Henry of Conde was to the Huguenots a loss 

of no ordinary magnitude. In a certain sense he could be styled 

the very heart of the party. Other leaders might be 

The prince's J , r . ~ ,. . /* 

death an ir- attached to it from motives ot policy and interest: 

reparable loss _ , . d 

totheHu- he belonged to it from conviction. As a military 

guenots. ill • 1 'i i r 1 • 

leader he was certainly not the equal or his cousin, 
though with a well-disciplined army he might have been well- 
nigh perfect. Brave to a fault, he did not so much bid his 
soldiers go, as himself lead the way. But he assumed too much 
for granted. When the command had been given, he took too 
little pains to see that it was obeyed. Lacking the keen in- 
sight into character that distinguished the King of Navarre, he 
gave credit to others for a probity which they did not pos- 
sess. But if his ability to command was less conspicuous than 
that of the other Henry, the relative inferiority was, perhaps, 
compensated by other qualities. lie was generous, liberal, and 
pious. If Navarre could on occasion make duty and conscience 
bend to considerations of safety, Conde was inflexible. Men 
who had little affection for him said that, besides being cou- 
rageous, nurtured in the Huguenot faith, and highly esteemed 
by his party, he was firm and obstinate beyond those of his 
family and nation. " It seemed to us," wrote the Florentine 
Oavriana, on the receipt of the tidings of Conde's death, " that, 
were he removed from beside the King of Navarre, it would be an 
easier task to come to an agreement." And he added : " We 
shall now see whether the devil has found another temple wherein 
he may wish to be honored by a successor of the said prin 

1 " Advertissement sur la mort de Monseigneur le Prince de Conde," in 
Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 330-334, and reprinted in Cimber et Danjou, 
Archives curieuses, xi. 277-281. This contains the certificate of the physicians 
and surgeons. Recueil des choses memorables, 660; De Thou, vii. (book 90 . 
179, etc.; Agrippa d'Aubigne, Lestoile, Caviiana, etc., ubi infra See, also, the 
able article on Henry of Conde in Haag, La France Protestante, new edition, 
ii. 1077, etc. The child whose legitimacy was in question, it will be remem- 
bered, was grandfather of the great Conde, tf^ victor of Rocroy. 

- "Ora vedremo se il diavolo avra trovaU tempio nel quale voglia essere 
onorato per successore al detto principe." 



Others, who, though belonging to the party opposed to him, 
were more amiably disposed, magnified Conde's virtues and 
deplored only the adverse fates in accordance with which, all 
his life long, he seemed to have served as a shining mark 
for unfriendly darts. The Huguenots, on the other hand, and 
especially those of the number whom the lighter and more in- 
constant were wont to style the " Consistorial " faction, thought 
more of the prince's unswerving devotion to his religion, and 
never forgot that even the perils of Saint Bartholomew's Day 
had not prevented him from boldly testifying his Protestant 
faith. He might not be so prudent or so fortunate a general 
as Henry of Navarre, but at a moment that called for truer 
heroism than does the most desperate battle, while Navarre lis- 
tened to the demand of Charles the Ninth — " the mass, or death " 
— " with countenance much moved and downcast," his cousin of 
Conde showed no perturbation of mind, and calmly professed 
his intention to remain constant in his religion, which he would, 
lie said, always maintain to be the true religion, even should he 
be compelled to lay down his life for it. 1 

France could ill afford to part with such a man at this criti- 
cal juncture. It is not safe to indulge in conjecture as to what 
the history of the kingdom would have been had he lived. It 
may, however, well be doubted whether the disgraceful record 
of a king's insincere abandonment of his religion, for the sake of 
a capital which he wished to secure, would have found a place 
there The crime that freed Henry of Navarre of a competitor 
in the good graces of the Huguenots, and of a rival in their af- 
fections, whom at times he viewed with suspicion akin to hatred, 
also removed the only kinsman who might have restrained him 
from the commission of the most signal error — shall I not say, 
the fatal blunder? — of his eventful life. But whether even 
that kinsman's arm would have proved strong enough to over- 
come in an ambitions monarch the promptings of his thirst 

1 See the Rise of the Huguenots, ii. 469. For the character of Henry of 
Condc compare Lestoile, i. 466, 467 ; De Thou, vii. 180 ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, 
iii. 72; Cavriana to Serguidi, February (read March) 11, 1588, in Negociations 
avec la Toscane, iv. 747. 


for undisputed power, is a question I shall not undertake to 

Meanwhile the tidings of the untimely fate of Henry of Con- 
de brought sincere grief to his cousin. The cold hand of death 
had obliterated the impulse of jealousy from Xavarre'.s 

Depression of TT L _ J * , 

the King of breast. He could now forget that Conde had some- 
times shown too much independence to suit his kins- 
man's notions of his own dignity as the representative of the elder 
line. He could forget that the prince had often betrayed the feel- 
ing that, either because of his greater devotion to the good cause, 
or because of the year by which he was the senior of Xavarre, 1 
he was the truer exponent of Huguenot views and aims. He 
could forget the ambitious designs falsely ascribed to the prince, 
and the plans of aggrandizement which even Sully is not 
ashamed to lay to his charge. 2 At the present moment the 
Bearnais remembered only the cruel end of the poor prince, 
"poor — but not in heart," 3 and the perplexities and dangers 
environing his own situation. In fact, never does Henry of 
Navarre's correspondence betray more disturbance of mind than 
he displayed about this time in his private letters to the Coun- 
tess of Grammont. One day he jots down almost incoherently : 
" The devil is unchained. I am to be pitied, and it is a marvel 
that I do not succumb under the burden. If I were not a Hu- 
guenot, I should turn Turk. Oh, the violent trials by which 
my brain is harassed ! I must needs soon become either a 
or a skilful man. This year will be my touchstone. Domestic 
misfortune is a very painful ill. All the tortures which a mind 
can experience are unintermittingly inflicted upon mine." ' A 
day or two later, he writes of the new disaster of Conde's death, 
in which he sees the hand of the League : " I am at this hour 

1 Henry of Conde was born at La Ferte sous Jouarre, December 29, 1552. 
Henry of Navarre was born at Pau, December 13, 1553. 

2 E.g., in chapter xiii. of his Memoires, " Ce prince fit lors des brigues et 
menees, pour former dans le party general de ceux de la Religion, qnelque 
espece de party particulier, qui dependist tout de luy," etc. 

3 "Ce pauvre prince (non de cceur)." Henry of Navarre to the Countess of 
Grammont, March 10, 1588, Lettres missives, ii. 343. 

4 Letter of March 8 (from Nerac), ibid., ii. 342. 


the single target at which all the perfidious deeds of the mass 
are aimed. They have poisoned him, the traitors ! Yet is it 
certain that God will remain master, and I, by His grace^ shall 
be the executor of His purposes." ' Three days pass, and he 
exclaims: "Recall to mind what I formerly told you (and I 
am rarely mistaken in my judgments). A bad woman is a 
dangerous beast. All these poisoners are papists." 2 In an- 
other letter, written on his way from Gascony to the town 
where the prince had met with his untimely end : " The Rom- 
ish preachers loudly proclaim through the towns about here, 
that there is but one more person to be secured. They can- 
onize this fine deed and him that executed it. They admonish 
all good Catholics to take example from so Christian an enter- 
prise. And you are of that religion! " 3 A miscreant was ar- 
rested, who was believed to have been hired to put Navarre out 
of the way after the same fashion as his cousin ; whereupon the 
Huguenot king penned these lines to the Huguenot minister, 
La Roche Chandieu, one of those who had prayed and had 
fought by his side at Coutras: "Upon what a miserable time 
are we fallen, and how incensed against us is God, that this 
age produces such monsters, who, though they make a trade of 
assassination and poisoning, yet wish to be esteemed men of 
honor and virtue ! I know that they can do nothing against 
me, unless it be by the permission of God, upon whose provi- 
dence I place my whole reliance, and am well assured that, 
though He may tarry, yet, in spite of all His enemies, He will 
deliver His church. If He be not pleased to use me in this 
matter, He has a plenty of other means in His hands to accom- 
plish His designs." 4 

Entertaining such sentiments, the Navarrese king replied 

1 Letter of March 10, ibid., ii. 343. 
- Letter of March 13, ibid., ii. 346. 

3 Letter of March 17, from Pons sur Saigne, in Saintonge, ibid., ii. 349. 
The Bearnais used this as a text to urge his mistress not to defer her conver- 
sion to Protestantism. " Certes, mon coeur, c'est un beau subject et [que] 
nostre misere, pour faire paroistre vostre piete et vostre vertu. N'attendes 
pas a. une aultre fois a jeter ce froc aux orties." 

4 Lettres missives, ii. 351, 352. 

* irm answer to 
the advances 
of the King 


with firmness to the advances made to him by a fresh envoy of 
Henry the Third. He disclaimed any responsibility for the war 
now raging, and thanked God for the French king's inclination 
to peace. He promised his own co-operation in bring- 
ing about so blessed a state of things. But he did 
of France. u0 ^ con ceal his belief that his majesty would find it 
impossible to secure a stable peace without satisfying the con- 
scientious demands of his subjects. This was no newly discov- 
ered truth ; it was the experience of all countries where relig- 
ion had been brought into question, for the past thirty year-. 
As to himself, he repeated, as on so many other occasions, he 
was not obstinate — obstinacy would be a very costly luxury 
in his case — and he had always professed his willingness 
receive instruction in all proper ways. 1 

Meanwhile, Conde was scarcely dead before the enemies of 
the Huguenots began to indulge in conjecture concerning a suc- 
cessor to the important place thus left vacant. The 

Roman Catho- . ... -\ • r 

nc conjectures question was not as to the princes governorship or 

respecting , . „ ~ . T ,,. . T - x . ,. .. 

conde'ssuc- the citv or oaint Jean d Angely. Disregarding the ac- 


mands of the Guises, Henry of Yalois had promptly 
conferred that office upon the now loyal Duke of Xevers, and 
not upon the Duke of Aumale. More important than the gov- 
ernorship of a single city was the position of Conde* in the great 
Huguenot party, second only to the position of Navarre him- 
self. Who would take that ? Upon this point the Tuscan 
agent at the French capital enlarged much in his home corre- 
spondence, and his remarks are worthy of attention, both on 
account of his wide acquaintance with the politics of the coun- 
try of which he had long been a resident, and because they give 
an admirable view of the cynical scepticism prevailing among 
intelligent men as to the sincerity of the actors in the crusade 
now waged against the Huguenots in the name of religion. 

The most promising candidates for the succession, we are told, 
are Cliatillon and Turenne, both of whom the writer regards 

1 "Response du Roy de Navarre aux propositions du sieur de Saincte Col- 
ombe " (February, 1588) — written by Duplessis Mornaj, and printed in his 
Memoires, iv. 183-185. 


as men of more firmness than the King of Navarre. Either 
one of these may become a Sertorius. Then there are the two 
brothers of Conde — the Count of Soissons and the Prince of 
Conty — who have the advantage of being of the blood royal. 
To this suggestion it may be objected that these two brothers 
cannot become leaders of the Huguenots because, being Catho- 
lics, they will not consent to change their religion, and because 
they cannot claim the confidence of Navarre's party. " I reply," 
says Cavriana, " that you gentlemen of Rome are very far re- 
moved from the state of the case. Men are not combating for 
the faith, nor for Christ, but solely for command. Everybody 
professes to believe in a king, wants one, and shouts for him; 
but all would like to strip him of his robes and his authority. 
Were a leader to be found more devout and Catholic than a 
Capuchin monk, who yet should promise the Huguenots to do 
what they do, he would be revered and adored by them. More- 
over, there is to be considered the fact that men see that the 
most holy League wants to extirpate the family of Bourbon to- 
gether with the royal family, having taken the Cardinal of Bour- 
bon as its guide and general in the work of extinction. The 
Huguenots will always believe in the Bourbons sprung from 
the late Prince of Conde ; be they of this or that sect, it makes 
no difference. And the old Frenchmen, bound by affection to 
their own nation, think it strange that Spain and Lorraine lay 
claim to the crown of the land of their birth. The Cardinal 
of Bourbon, an arch-Catholic, has shown marks of joy at Conde's 
death. I do not know whether, in his heart, he feels sorrow, 
as a man, for the loss of his nephew. Methinks, the old care lit- 
tle except for self-preservation, and when that demon, a desire to 
become king, has entered into a man, the removal of any obsta- 
cle will afford him subject for rejoicing." ' 

" Bellievre and La Guiche have gone to Guise and are now 

1 Cardinal Bourbon, we learn from Lestoile, exclaimed to Henry III. , when 
the tidings of his nephew's death first came : " See, Sire, what a thing it is 
to be excommunicated. As for myself, I attribute his death to nothing else 
than to the thunderbolt of excommunication by which he was struck." Me- 
moires de Henry III. , 109. 


expected back again. But Guise will give them fair words and 
nothing more, for lie does not want peace on any conditions ; 
because, in the first place, so long as he is in arms he has power, 
and because, secondly, Spain so advises, thanks to which he 
manages barely to subsist in a manner that does not deserve to 
be styled 'living:' for he can never secure enough 

The League J . 

has no desire irom that source to satisfv the gnawmgs or hunger, 

for peace. J ° 

so sparingly is he supplied with money. ' Conse- 
quently, this holy League eats on every side, and none the 
less is very lean and emaciated. If we lived as we should 
live, the League would be undone within three months ; but all 
malcontents and lovers of novelty among us find a support in 
it. The League is set for the ruin of France, and, if God pre- 
vent not, for the ruin of the Catholic faith also. You can see 
that this is so. »Up to the present time ecclesiastical property 
has been sold to the amount of two hundred thousand crowns 
of yearly income, and yet the Huguenots are as strong and as 
firm as at first. Meanwhile the people are more and more com- 
pletely ruined. I have said that the League eats on every 
side: Spain and Rome contribute to the Duke of Guise; 
the churches of France and some individual persons do the 
same, but a little more sparingly than used to be the 
and the king makes great concessions. Who, then, finding 
himself so situated, would lay down his arms? "What so elo- 
quent orator could persuade him \ The Duke, young, florid, 
ardent, with a numerous following of relations, all of them cap- 
able of bearing arms, cannot lose by waiting, and gains by every 
mistake of the royal party. Knowing its divisions, he bides his 
time. Men cry out against Epernon as the obstacle to the re- 
conciliation of Guise and the king ; but were Epernon to die, 
another and yet another Epernon would arise to take his place. 
Everybody wants to command. You Italians are too far off to 
hear our cries or to see our tears ; but, believe me, should this 
kingdom be lost, which alone makes head against Spain, you 
will see how little wisdom you displayed in assenting to the 
League, and such a league as this, which purposely ruins the 

'This passage has already been referred to, vol. i., chapter iv. p. 268. 


kingdom. It is well to conserve the Catholic faith, but it must 
be done by other means than these." J 

It was a very shrewd and well-informed person who wrote 
down these views of public affairs, and he was at the time just 
where he might have been expected to enjoy the best oppor- 
tunities for obtaining a clear insight into the course of events. 
Yet even he did not know or suspect that the course of the 
League was wholly dependent upon the will of Philip the » Sec- 
ond, and that the next decided blow was to be timed 

Philip the . . 

second directs with exclusive reference to that enterprise against 
England upon the execution of which the secret plot- 
ter of the Escorial had long been concentrating his malignant 
thoughts. For the Duke of Guise must make his descent upon 
Paris, and, by getting possession of the person of Henry of 
Yalois, put it out of that monarch's power to succor Queen 
Elizabeth, and must make this move neither too early nor too 
late — a fortnight or three weeks before the Invincible Armada 
should set sail on its triumphant progress from the port of Lis- 
bon. 2 Thus would the same results be obtained as if the Duch- 
ess of Montpensier's plots had been successful, or those other 
plots of humbler members of the League, who proposed to 
waylay the king in the Rue Saint Antoine, on his return from 
the Bois de Vincennes, and either murder him or shut him 
up for the rest of his days in a monastery. 3 Meanwhile, so 

'Cavriana to Serguidi, February (March) 11, 1588, Negotiations avec la 
Toscane, iv. 747-752. 

- The " Barricades" of Paris took place May 12 ; the Armada was to sail on 
the 29th of the same month. Michelet, La Ligue et Henri IV., c. 13, page 

3 Such a plot seems to have been formed two years or thereabouts before, but 
Poulain states his inability to fix the precise date. " Procez Verbal d'un 
nomme Nicolas Poulain," in Memoires de Henri III., 155. Although frus- 
trated then, the scheme was now revived by the Duchess of Montpensier, and 
again it was arranged that, on Thursday, May 5, 1588, just one week before 
the Barricades, his majesty should be seized outside of the gate of Saint An- 
toine, and hurried off to Soissons. It would then be given out that the Hugue- 
nots had abducted the king, and the populace would be stirred up to fall 
upon and massacre every one suspected of belonging to the party of the Poli- 
tiques. Ibid., 183; De Thou, vii. (book 90) 184, 185. Other conspiracies 
betrayed by Poulain, as, for example, that on the day of " carome prenant," 


profoundly ignorant was the French monarch of Philip's com- 
mon designs upon France and England, that he actually feared 
lest some arrangement might be effected between Spain and 
the latter country ; and to prevent this result, he offered Queen 
Elizabeth, should she be attacked by Philip, double the forces 
which the treaty of 1574 bound him to furnish for her defence. 1 
Philip did not relax his precautions of secrecy as the time for 
action approached, or cease to enjoin his agents to be careful. 
Even when Mendoza wrote from Paris to inform him of Guise's 
purpose to place his own son in the hands of the Duke of Parma 
as a pledge of devotion to Spanish interests, his Catholic majesty 
added his note of hesitation on the margin of the despatch : u I 
do not know but that this would be to make too much of a dis- 
closure." 2 

However, the work of deceptive negotiation did not intermit. 

Guise, with the cardinals of Bourbon and of Vendome and with 

others of the partv, had come nearer to Pari.-, and 

The Duke of . r J . 

Guise comes were at feoissons — a citv even more convenient as a 

to Soissons. . .,..,. . , , 

starting-point or. military enterprises than as a place 
of conference. It was also just in between the capital and the 
province of Picardy, whose cities the duke protested t»» Men- 
doza and Parma he would under no circumstances allow the king 
to garrison. He had taken his measures so well that. should 
Henry of Valois start out in person for the refractory province, 
he would soon rue it. " I hope," said Guise, with evident satis- 
faction, "to make him think about getting home again before 
he shall have approached the Picards by a single day's journey." 3 
And what Guise only hinted, others understood well enough. 
If the king should go against the Duke of Aumale. wrote Cav- 
riana, he will accomplish nothing. Guise will help his cousin, 
and the king will, for lack of money, have but a sorry follow- 
ing. Moreover, men will say that he is leaving the Huguenots 

or " mardi gras," need not be referred to in detail. See Memoires de Henry 
III., 169; DeThou, vii. 182. 

1 Mignet, Marie Stuart, ii. (chapter 12) 300. 

2 Mendoza to Philip II., March 15, 1588, De Croze, Pieces justificatives, 
ii. 321. 

3 Mucius (Guise) to Mendoza, March 31, 1588, ibid., ii. 324. 


unmolested that he may pursue in arms the Catholics. " And 
who knows whether, if he leave Paris, the citizens, who hate 
the very name of Epernon, may not call in the Duke of Guise '( 
Undique angustiazP l Only one thing was the Duke of Guise 
willing to do by way of throwing a sop to the enemy. " We 
shall be satisfied," said he, " with finding an expedient to per- 
mit the entrance, for a few days only, of a 'certain small number 
of men into two or three large cities where the superiority will 
remain on the side of the inhabitants, together with the power 
to put the troops out of doors whenever it shall seem good to 
them so to do." 2 

The mendacity of the Guises had become proverbial. Never 
were they less to be trusted than when their emotions seemed 
to have gained the upper hand. It was not, therefore, very 
strange that at the very moment when the duke was so unreserv- 
edly laying bare to the Spanish ambassador his treasonable de- 
signs against Henry of Yalois, he was assuring Henry's envoy, 
Bellievre, with tears in his eyes, of the falsity of the reports 
spread at Paris to his disadvantage, and begging the king to in- 
quire into their authorship and inflict punishment upon the 
guilty. Not to be outdone in hypocrisy by the associates with 
whom he had cast in his lot, Cardinal Bourbon, with great grief 
depicted on his countenance, joined with Guise in complaining 
of the wrong done him and the manifest efforts to compass his 
ruin, but professed his belief that God would not permit them 
to succeed. As if this was not enough, the prelate had the 
effrontery to pretend that all the worthies gathered at Sois- 
sons, and the Duke of Guise more than all the rest, had been 
laboring hard to bring the Picards to reason. 3 

Under the circumstances there could be but one result. Guise 
had consented to the interview at Soissons solely to gain time 
and secure a good opportunity for going to Paris. " The king," 
wrote Mendoza to his master as early as the middle of April, 

1 Cavriana to Serguidi, March 1, 1588, Negotiations avec la Toscane, iv. 763. 

2 Mucius (Guise) to Mendoza, April 19, 1588, in De Croze, ii. 332, 333. 

3 "Qu'ils ont icy travaille et Monsieur de Guise plus que tous les aultres, 
pour ranger les Picards a quelque raison. " Despatch of Bellievre, April 26, 
1588, De Croze, ii. 59, 60. 


"would like to forego this journey, but he will not be able to 
oppose it, because the burghers of Paris are firmly resolved to 
carry out next week the project of which I wrote to your maj- 
esty in my despatches of the month of July last. . . If the 
project in question be put into execution, as I am assured, the 
king will have his hands so tied that it will be impossible for 
him, even in words, and much less by acts, to render assistance 
to the Queen of England. It was with this end that I judged 
it best to have the execution deferred until his majesty's fleet 
should be ready to start." ' 

It was a dangerous step which Guise was about to take, but the 
duke was by no means deficient in a certain reckless courage. 
Did he know the man with whom he had to deal ? He thought 
so, and believed Henry of Yalois to be an arrant coward. Men- 
doza appears to have thought so too, and he told his master 
that Guise maintained that he understood his French maj- 
esty even to the innermost folds of his character. 8 Moreover, 
though, according to his habit, slow and sparing of money and 
men, the Spaniard was lavish of promises. Parma had just 
sent to Guise the Commander Moreo to hold out the most 
flattering prospect of aid, to be rendered so soon as the duke 
should openly break with the Very Christian King. Philip 
would at once withdraw his ambassador from Paris and com- 
mission one instead to the united princes of the League. Mean- 
while he would hold at the duke's disposal, upon the frontiers 
of France, iive or six thousand foot soldiers and one thousand 
or twelve hundred lances, and furnish him with a sum of three 
hundred thousand crowns in money. 3 

The Leaguers in Paris were more and more urgent for Guise's 
immediate coming. The Swiss levies, posted by fipernon at 
Lagny on the Marne, seemed to threaten the unruly capital 

1 Mendoza to Philip II., Paris, April 14, 1588, second despatch, De Grose, 
ii. 329, 330. 

2 Same to same, March 15, 1588, ibid., ii. 321. 

3 Guise reminds Parma of this promise, and calls for a part of the proffered 
help in a paper entitled "Punctosde la instruccion del q' Mucio embio a! 
duque de Parma, 1 ' enclosed in a letter of the former. May '.29 or 30, 15SS. De 
Croze, ii. 341. 


from above, while Epernon himself had gone to take posses- 
sion of Rouen, the chief city of the province of Normandy, 
The Parisians which had been committed to his charge, despite 
haften'hi Guise's opposition, after the death of Joyeuse. Should 
coming. £pernon secure Orleans also, Paris would be men- 
aced from three different quarters. 1 In response to the appeals 
of the Parisians and the urgency of the Spaniards, Henry of 
Guise determined to wait no longer. He had, however, taken 
good care to send into the city, as secretly as possible, a great 
number of armed men who sympathized with his views, and these 
had found shelter as well in the religious houses as in the homes 
of noblemen belonging to the party of the League. This fact had 
come to the knowledge of the king. Coupled with the evasive 
answers returned by the duke to the reiterated requests or com- 
mands addressed to him that he should not come to the capital, 
the incident excited his uneasiness to the highest degree. In- 
deed, a more pitiful object than Henry of Yalois at this junct- 
ure it would be difficult to imagine. He did not, we are told, 
appear to care much about the seizure of places about Paris 
by the League — Meulan, Meaux, Chateau-Thierry, and the like 
— and even now, when dismissing those who came to have an 
audience with him, he gave them to understand that he wanted 
peace and not war. No one could make out the meaning of 
this constant reiteration ; whether it was that he hoped in time 
to get the better of the League, or that his mind was inclined to 
quiet on any terms. But more than ever before he found him- 
self annoyed and perplexed by not knowing whom to trust 
among the many recipients of past favors who stood convicted 
of disloyalty to his interests. Averse as he was to trouble, he 
was compelled to change his ordinary course of life, to write 
his despatches with his own hand, to take counsel only with 
himself. He feared treachery in every direction, and stood in 
doubt of his own guards. Those who wished him well, sighed 
to think that the cure of present complications was beyond 
reach, because the remedy was nothing less than a change in 
the king's own character. " If only the king, as he possesses 

1 Michelet, ubi supra, 173. 
Vol. II.— 3 


judgment and prudence, had also a trifle more courage than lie 
displays" — so wrote Cavriana — "our affairs would go well. 
The rich, the good, the true Frenchmen are for the king ; the 
others, who are fortune-hunters, follow the opposed party." 
" My good sir," he added to his correspondent, " this is one of 
the greatest revolts and rebellions ever heard of. I much fear 
that before a month shall have passed, I shall have to write of 
some very strange developments. Guise wants to reign, and 
the king has little ability to hinder him. In consequence he 
will be constrained to submit to the command of his subject." ' 
Now was Mendoza anxious in good earnest. He had suc- 
ceeded in securing, by the treachery of Henry of Valois's trusty 
servants, a copy of the instructions given to the royal secretary 
sent to Constantinople to stir up the Grand Turk to make peace 
with Persia and attack the Spaniard. lie had learned from 
Rouen that the partisans of the League in that city were fully 
prepared to seize the person of their archenemy, the Duke of 
Epernon. He had it on good authority that Henry's knavish 
secretary Yilleroy, who seemed never more at home than when 
betraying his master's secrets, had given assurance to Guise, in 
a paper over his own signature, that he would rejoice at the 
murder of the king's haughty minion, and that the sentiment 
of gladness would be shared by most of the nobles not con- 
nected with the League. News had come that many of the 
gentlemen of the party were in the castles hard by Paris, and 
common soldiers in great numbers were already within the city. 
So eagerly did the Parisians long for Guise's arrival, that the 
duke's usual envoy, M. de Mayneville, sent by him with certain 
information which he deemed it imprudent to put down in 
writing, had been sent back bv them, before he had even had 
an opportunity to deliver his message to Mendoza, to implore 
that champion of the Church to come instantly to the rescue. 
" From all this," wrote the Spanish ambassador, making n& 
a figure more forcible than refined, "from all this it is eae 
conclude that the abscess will burst before long." ' 

1 Cavriana to Sergnidi, May 7, 1588, N£gociations avec la Toscane, iv. 775 

2 Mendoza to Philip II., May 7, 1588, De Croze, ii. ooo-ooo. 

1588. THE BARRICADES. '6b 

One Monday morning in May — it was the ninth of the month 
— Bellievre was seen at the northern gates of Paris, on his way 
Guise unex- Dac k from Soissons. lie had been despatched thith- 
pectediy er a few days before, with express orders to Guise to 

comes to the ' «/ -T 

capital. adjourn his proposed visit to the capital. The duke 

was told that, should he persist in his design, the king would 
regard him as a criminal and hold him responsible for all the 
troubles that might ensue. The envoy was sent back with an 
evasive answer. It was toward nine o'clock when he entered 
the Porte Saint Martin and directed his steps toward the palace 
of the Louvre. Three hours had scarcely passed when a small 
cavalcade — there may have been seven or eight gentlemen and 
not over twice that number of horsemen all told — rode in from 
the same quarter.' One of the party, and apparently the lead- 
er, wore his hat drawn far down over his face, as if to avoid 
recognition. Suddenly, whether by a preconcerted plan or from 
a mere love of sport, a bystander laid hold of the hat and, 
raising it, disclosed the features of a man whom the Parisian 
populace had come to adore as a god. The cry of "Vive 
Guise " arose on all sides, and was repeated with far more en- 
thusiasm than the cry of " Vive le Roi " had ever been caught 
up within the memory of living man. And now the rebellious 
subject who, taking his life in his hand, had come almost alone 
to beard his sovereign in his very capital, was surrounded by a 
throng, increasing at every step, until it was estimated that no 
fewer than thirty thousand persons accompanied him before he 
was half through the city. Never was ovation more complete. 
Men and women rushed from work-room and from shop. There 
was no act, there were no words too extravagant for the expres- 
sion of the joy felt at the advent of him whom they greeted as 
their savior from the worst of fates. Those fortunate persons 
who could get near to him embraced him, or, failing in that, 
kissed the very hem of his garments. Some drew out their 

"Y seroit arrive en plein midy avec sept chevaux seulement," says the 
"Copie des lettres que les habitants de Paris escrivirent aux villes du Eoy- 
auine de France de la Religion Romaine, du dixhuitieme de May 1588," in 
the Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 369. 


rosaries and endeavored to add new sanctity to these aids to de- 
votion by rubbing them against the body of him whom their 
imaginations exalted into one of the company of the saints ; 
whereupon they passionately pressed the beads to their lips, 
their eyes, and their foreheads. Those who could not get at the 
duke for the press were fain to content themselves with ex- 
pressive gestures and w r ords of welcome. The gentle sex from 
their windows strewed flowers in his way, and loudly blessed 
his coming. Vitri, one of the queen's maids of honor, distin- 
guished herself above the rest, by lowering the mask, behind 
which it was the fashion for ladies of quality to conceal their 
faces, and crying out : " Good prince, since thou art here, we 
are all saved. Shall I not die after having seen thee kii 
No conqueror returning from a hardly contested field could have 
desired a more splendid triumph. 

The nobleman who was the object of their jubilant demon- 
strations accepted and returned the greetings of the people, hat 
in hand, with the most conciliatory air. After traversing a good 
part of the Rue Saint Denis, without waiting to go to his own 
stately house, he presented himself, all booted and spurred as 
he was, to the queen mother, in her apartments in the Hotel de 
Soissons (or the Filles Repenties) hard by the church of Saint 
Eustache. 1 

For shrewdness and fertility of device, Catharine de' Medici 
had no superior, and few equals, among the women of her 
He visits the time. If the ability to hoodwink the unsuspecting, 
queen mother, ^ amuse na if a dozen rivals for power by as many 
false stories, and to deceive temporarily without reference to the 
day of reckoning that is sure to come in the end — if this con- 
stitutes the highest form of genius to which mankind should 
:aspire, then the Italian princess, who had spent close upon the 
allotted threescore and ten years in such ignoble pursuits may 
unquestionably be accorded the palm. But never was there a 
woman to whom, within the compass of a single brief life, a 
greater number of humiliating experiences seemed to have been 

1 See, especially, Davila, book ix., 337 ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 73 (book i., 
chapter xix.). 


reserved. On the present occasion she was both surprised and 
disconcerted. How should she defend herself against the re- 
proaches of her son whom she had all along endeavored to quiet 
with assurances of the duke's good intentions? How prove to 
him that the nobleman, who, in direct defiance of the king's 
prohibition, had had the audacity to push on to Paris, was a 
faithful subject and entertained no sinister designs upon the 
royal authority? Catharine, when she received the duke, was 
pale, trembling, and almost dismayed. Her words w r ere ambig- 
uous and uncertain. She was glad, she said, to see him ; but 
would have been much more glad to see him at another time. 
To which Guise replied with all appearance of respect, but almost 
angrily, that he was a faithful servant of the king, and that, 
having been informed of the calumnies circulated respecting him- 
self, as well as of the mischievous designs set on foot against 
religion and against the honest and well-disposed citizens of 
Paris, he had come to clear himself and to avert these disasters, 
or else to lay down his life in the service of the Church and for 
the common weal. 1 , 

Embracing the first opportunity afforded, while the courteous 
duke was paying his respects to the ladies in waiting, Catharine 
de' Medici promptly despatched one of her gentlemen ushers, 
Luigi Davila, brother of the historian, to acquaint the king with 
Guise's arrival, and to tell him of her intention to bring him at 
once into his majesty's presence. If the unexpected 

Surprise and _ -i-i-i ^ . 

dejection of turn or events had thrown Catharine into conster- 
nation, it quite unmanned her wretched son. The 
messenger found him closeted with Bellievre, Villequier, and 
one or two others of his servants, discussing the present situ- 
ation, on the supposition that Guise was full sixty miles distant, 
at Soissons. To find that the duke was actually within the 
walls of Paris, and about to visit him in the Louvre, was too 
much for the nerves of the Yalois. He was almost crushed. 
He could scarcely hold up his head, but leaned it heavily upon 

1 Davila, 338. The history of Enrico Cattarino Davila being at this point 
based upon the authority of his elder brother, Luigi, is of great weight, as vir- 
tually the narrative of an eye-witness of, and, to some extent, a participant in, 
the events related. 


his hand till it well-nigh touched the table. After anxiously 
questioning Davila on every point, he dismissed him with the 
message to the queen mother to defer Guise's visit as long as 
possible. What should he do ? Here was a fine opportunity 
for a good counsellor to come forward, had Henry possessed 
one. Such advice as was at command, however, was soon prof- 
fered. Alphonso Ornano, colonel of the Corsicans in his 
majesty's army, a soldier of tried valor and prompt resolution, 
advocated summary action, and volunteered his own services. 
Let the king receive the Duke of Guise in the very cabinet 
in which he now is seated, and his faithful servant promises 
speedily to put the rebellious nobleman out of the way. A 
churchman who held the same views, the Abbe d'Elbene, fol- 
lowed up the suggestion by quoting Scripture : " I will smite the 
shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered/' But the League 
was too well represented in the neighborhood of the king to 
permit so decided a measure to be adopted without remon- 
strance. The treacherous Villequier and the half-hearted Chan- 
cellor Birague, not to speak of Bellievre, never a friend of 
extreme resorts, instantly opposed Ornano's suggestion. If 
Guise be assassinated, said they, the burghers of Paris will be 
moved to take immediate revenge, and the king's forces are in- 
ferior to those of the League. In their rage they might Dot 
spare the monarch himself, for whom the castle of the Louvre 
, would furnish no safe retreat. 

Between the two courses Henry of Yalois found it difficult 

to decide. He was not allowed much time for deliberation. In 

the midst of his irresolution, Catharine de' Medici 

The duke . . . . . 

comes to the arrived, bringing with her the cause or all this anx- 
iety. The queen, coming in her sedan, and the duke, 
on foot, left in the court of the Louvre the crowd of sympa- 
thizing citizens that had not forsaken Guise for a moment since 
he entered Paris, and passed in between close ranks of guards 
whose commanding officer showed the Lorraine chief scant 
courtesy. Grillon's sullen mien was a poor augury of a cordial 
welcome within. " I sent you word that you should not come.' 1 
were the first words that greeted his ears, as he bowed low be- 
fore Henry, and the abrupt speech was accompanied by an angry 


glance which only too clearly betrayed the conflict of passions 
rasing in the monarch's breast. The situation was ominous, 
but it was too late to retreat. The duke controlled his natural 
fears, and answered with greater deference than he had shown 
to the queen. " I am come, Sire," said he, " to place myself 
in the arms of your majesty's justice, in order to clear myself 
of the calumnies heaped upon me by my enemies. Yet would 
I never have come, had I been distinctly informed that your 
majesty had commanded me to stay away." It was the begin- 
ning of a stormy interview. The king, full of passion, turned 
to Bellievre, and peremptorily demanded to know whether he 
had not been instructed to warn Guise that, should he venture 
to come to Paris, he would be accounted the author of all the 
outbreaks that might ensue. Then, when Bellievre was about 
to answer, Henry bade him be silent, and turning to Guise ex- 
claimed : " I know not that you have been calumniated by any- 
body ; but your innocence would have clearly appeared had 
your coming produced no commotion, and had it not inter- 
rupted the quiet of the government, as it is likely to do." The 
words were an open threat. The next thing might be a signal 
to Colonel Alphonso to fulfil his pledge. But again Catharine 
was at hand to sap her weak son's resolution, by whispering to 
him hints of danger, and telling him w T hat scenes she had wit- 
nessed in the streets. And the Duchess of Uzes was there, too, 
to corroborate the queen's statements. Between the words of 
the two women Henry's attention was diverted, if his anger 
was not appeased, and Guise was permitted to avail himself of 
the excuse of fatigue after his journey to bow himself out of 
the king's presence and retire to his city house in the Rue Saint 
Antoine. The duke had had a narrow escape. None felt it 
more than he, unless it was Pope Sixtus, whose first exclama- 
tion, on receiving tidings of the duke's visit to the Louvre, is 
said to have been : " Oh, the rash, the imprudent man, thus to 
place himself in the hands of a prince whom he has treated with 
such indignity ! " The pontiff's next utterance was of amaze- 
ment at Henry's weakness : " Oh, the cowardly prince, the poor 
prince, so to have suffered the opportunity to slip through his 
fingers for ridding himself of a man who seems to have been 


born for his ruin ! " As for Guise, thankful to have escaped 
so great a peril, he inwardly resolved never to expose himself 
again. But to men constituted as he was, danger lias a strange 
fascination, especially if the danger be associated with wild 
dreams of sovereignty. The flame may have singed them, and 
the pain or the apprehension of future ruin may have wrought 
wholesome but short-lived resolutions tending to greater pru- 
dence ; but they are pretty certain in the end to return to the 
scene of their first folly, and there to meet their fate in the all- 
consuming fire. 

Days of anxiety and ferment followed. The king, too late 
discovering his mistake, endeavored to regain firm possession of 
the capital which was fast slipping out of his grasp. The proc- 
lamation first issued, ordering all strangers not permanently 
residing in Paris, or detained there by necessary business, to 
depart at once, proved, like all similar proclamations, an empty 
form scarce worth the paper on which it was printed. But 
when, awaking to the importance of the crisis, Henry was per- 
suaded by his advisers to introduce into the capital the Swiss 
and French guards, hitherto posted in the neighborhood, the 
real struggle began. The "sixteen," the leaders whom the pop- 
ulace had come to regard as the embodiment of Catholic or- 
thodoxy and the conservators of the liberties of Paris, gave 
the note of alarm, and instantly the whole city was in commo- 
tion. It was reported that the lives of Guise and of all true 
friends of the faith were in danger. It was said that no/ the 
humblest Catholic was safe. Kay, the wild story was repeated 
from mouth to mouth that a threat had been dropped by a 
leader of the royal forces that the honor of Parisian wives and 
daughters should atone for the rebellion of their husbands and 

No other city in France, perhaps no other city of Christen- 
dom, could at this time boast a population so ready for revolt. 
The populace r °bbery, and every form of violence as Paris. It waf, 
of Paris. j n the view of a well-informed contemporary, the 
place for Guise " to execute his intended mischiefs, being a town 
always affectioned to him, and swarming with multitudes of 
poor artisans, porters, and peasants who, in hope of impunity 


and reward, are ready at all times to attempt mutinies, murders, 
or any kind of villanies whatsoever, if they may but be egged 
on, encouraged, or countenanced by any man of authority or 
honor that in such actions will undertake to be their head and 
ringleader ; as the miserable and more than barbarous massa- 
cre, most cruelly executed in that accursed town, upon the most 
renowned and worthy Admiral Chatillon and sundry nobles, 
gentlemen, students, and other men and women of all sorts, so 
they were suspected to be of the religion, may give sufficient 
testimony." ' 

The capital mistake of the king is said to have been that, in 
disposing his troops throughout the city, early in the morning 
of Thursday, the twelfth of May, the Place Maubert had been 
overlooked. Here, therefore, at a considerable distance from 
the Louvre, and in the very quarter where centred the most 
unruly elements, the populace had the advantage of position, 
and it was impossible to dislodge it. When the royal troops 
were sent to make the fruitless attempt, they found themselves 
suddenly confronted by a breastwork of such material as a great 
city could readily supply. To proceed was out of the question ; 
to retreat was equally impracticable, for a similar barrier had 
risen in their rear. Nor was this all. As by magic, the system 
of defence improvised by M. de Bois Dauphin and the students 
of the University, had spread over all the chief streets of Pa- 
ris. At intervals regularly marked out, of thirty paces each, 
The day of the tne wiping hands of men, women, and children had 
barricades. erected a succession of rude walls, in which barrels 
filled with earth, heavy timbers and logs, in short, whatever 
could be laid hold of to swell the size and add to the strength 
of the structure, had been hastily heaped together. Almost be- 
fore they knew it, the Swiss guards found themselves shut up 
in the Cimitiere des Innocents, the French guards on the 
bridges, at the Chatelet, at the Hotel de Ville, and wherever 

1 " A brief discourse, containing the true and certain manner how the late 
Duke of Guise and the Cardinal of Lorraine, his brother, were put to death . . . 
for sundry conspiracies and treasons, etc. Written unto our late Queen Eliz- 
abeth, by Sir Edward Stafford, at that time her ambassador in the court of 
France." In Hard wick's State Papers, i. 274. 


else they had been posted. To crown the insolent contempt of 
royal authority, a barricade was thrown across the street under 
the very noses of the king's own body-guard, and in sight of the 
monarch's apartments in the Louvre. The Swiss, as foreign- 
ers and looked upon with greater suspicion by the people, 
naturally fared worse than the other royal troops. Like these, 
they had been prevented by the king's express orders from 
using any violence. Now that it was too late, they found them- 
selves imprisoned in a narrow place, at the mercy of the Paris- 
ians, and were forced to resort to prayer and entreaty. Shot at 
with arquebuses, and struck by the ponderous stones that were 
hurled upon their heads from neighboring windows, they could 
only cry out in broken French : " Bonne France," " Miseri- 
corde," " Yive Guise," and whatever other exclamations might 
be expected to move the hard hearts of their enemies. 

The moment had come for the duke to appear upon the scene 
in his new character of the magnanimous hero. The plans he 
had laid had succeeded to perfection. There was no need of ■ 
resort to bloodshed, and the signal which was to have been 
given, as a last resort, by stroke of the bell of the church oi St. 
Jacques de la Boucherie, was purposely withheld. 1 All the morn- 
ing he had carefully remained within the barred gates of his 
house, not far distant from the Bastile. There Luigi Davila, sent 
by Catharine de' Medici, ostensibly to carry a complimentary 
message, but in reality as a spy to ascertain what he was doing, on 
being admitted by the wicket gate, found him, early that morn- 
ing, pacing up and down between two long rows of armed gen- 
tlemen ; and Guise seemed to take gratification in satisfying his 
visitor's curiosit}'. lie led him by the hand into the adjoining 
garden, and enabled him to obtain a good view of the great 

1 " De sorte qu'il prist une autre resolution d'essaver a faire faire barri 
et, sj les clioses luy succedoient, se gouverner doucement ; synon, avoit donno 
signal que, au son de la cloche Saint Jacques de la Boucherie. ils missent tout 
a feu et a sang. Toutesfois il n'en fut pas besoin, car tout leur rioit, ouvroit 
les bras, detestoit le Roi et les siens, et ne parloit que de se saisir de sa per- 
sonne ; ce quits differoient au lendeniain. " Memoires de Claude Groulart. 
Premier President du Parlenient de Xorniandie (Collection Mich&ud et Pou- 
joulat), 554. 


quantity of weapons stacked there, as well as of the soldiers 
who swarmed in the lower rooms of the house. It was four 
o'clock when the duke, moved thereto, it is said, by the king's 
earnest prayer, conveyed to him by Marshal Biron, deigned to 
take notice that something like a revolution was actually in 
progress, and sallied forth from his peaceful home. He was 
dressed in a slashed doublet of white satin, and wore the larore 
hat he so much affected ; but he carried no arms, and some- 
what ostentatiously held a short stick in his hand in lieu of a 
sword. The enthusiasm of preceding days was repeated when 
he appeared. Some were loud in proclaiming their desire to 
have him anointed king at once. " We must not trifle away 
the time any longer. We must take Monsieur to Rheims " *— 
was a significant cry that greeted his not unwilling ears, mingled 
with the universal "Vive Guise!" But the duke, thinking 
that his hour was not fully come, put on an air of displeasure, 
and said : " My friends, it is enough. Gentlemen, it is too 
much. Cry, rather, ' Yive le Roi ! Long live the king ! ' " 

Under such circumstances did Guise, now real master of 
Paris, go to the rescue of the French guards and of the unfor 
tunate Swiss, whom he ordered to be escorted to the gates of 
the Louvre, and whose arms he restored to them. 

Meanwhile, Catharine, to whom tears were about as natural 
as falsehood and intrigue, had scarcely dried her eyes all the 
time she sat at dinner. 2 Toward night, her old fond 


negotiates in ness for negotiation overcoming the pangs of gout, 
she set out to try her skill with Guise. It was out of 
the question to ride in her coach, so she went in a sedan ; but 
it took two hours for her bearers to go the trifling distance that 
intervened between the palace and the rival establishment in 
the Bue Saint Antoine. At every barricade a halt must be 
made, and the citizen defenders positively refused to permit an 

1 " II ne faut plus lanterner ; il faut mener Monsieur a Rheims." Lestoile, 
i. 250. 

2 " Bien les Roynes en furentelles grandement estonnees, et singulieremen t 
la Royne Mere, laquelle tout le long de son disner. ne fit que pleurer a grosses 
larmes." Amplification des particularitez, etc., in Mcmoires de la Ligue- 
ii. 347. 


opening larger than would barely allow the sedan to pass 
through. The queen mother found Guise elated with sue 
full of complaints against the king, exorbitant in his demands. 
He must be appointed lieutenant-general of the kingdom, with 
as ample powers as his father had enjoyed after the Tumult of 
Amboise. The appointment must be confirmed in a see 
of the states general to be called in the city of Paris. Henry of 
Navarre and the Bourbon princes that adhered to him must, 
as heretics, be declared incapable of succeeding to the crown. 
The taxes must be reduced. Epernon and his brother La Va- 
lette, Marshals Retz and Biron, Monsieur d'O, and Alphonso 
Ornano, must lose their offices and be dismissed from the court. 
The king must give up his famous body-guard of the " Forty- 
five" gentlemen. The Duke of Aumale must be governor of 
Picardy, the Duke of Nemours of Lyons, the Duke of Elbeuf 
of Normandy. Mayenne must become admiral. La Chastre 
must have Biron's place as marshal. Six cities, to be named by 
the chief men of the League, must be given them for their 
security. Such were some of the modest requests of Henry of 

The queen mother argued and remonstrated, but did not ab- 
solutely reject; then returned to the Louvre in the same te- 
dious manner in which she had come. The next day, Friday, 
the thirteenth of May, after a sleepless night taken up with a 
protracted discussion between the advocates of concession and 
of resistance in the royal council, the indefatigable qi 
mother was again at the duke's house. She displayed no im- 
patience, but went over the same subject, taking up item after 
item of the League's alleged grievances and demands. Never 
had she seemed to be less in a hurry, or less irritated by the 
duke's increasing obstinacy. Unfortunately the quiet conver- 
sation was interrupted by the abrupt entrance of M. de Mayne- 
ville, a gentleman who, as we have seen, had had much expe- 
rience in carrying messages for the League. Leaning over 
Guise's shoulder, he whispered the fatal news that the King of 
France, whose affairs the duke and the queen mother were now- 
discussing, believing him to be a captive in the hands of his 
enemies, had quietly slipped out of Paris, and had full two 


hours' start on the way to the city of Chartres. Never had es- 
cape been more neatly effected. The Duke of Guise, prepared 
for almost everything else, was quite unprepared for this. The 
queen mother was, to all appearance, equally surprised, protest- 
ing that her son had not said a word to her of any intention to 
flee. " Ah, Madam," said Guise, with a loud voice, " I am alto- 
gether undone ! While your majesty has been detaining me 
here, the king has gone away to effect my ruin." 

The tidings were well founded. Henry of Yalois had left 
the castle of the Louvre under the pretext of taking a little 
walk, as he was accustomed to do, in the neighboring garden of 
Henr-of tne Tuileries. On the present occasion, however, he 
Xomhirca P< i S nac ^ not tarried to expend any inopportune admira- 
tal - tion upon the rustic works and grottoes so skilfully 

constructed by the art of Palissy the potter. He had, instead, 
hastily donned a riding suit, and mounted a horse standing 
ready saddled for him. A minute more, and he had cantered 
out of the new gate of the gardens, accompanied by sixteen 
horsemen and followed by twelve footmen. It was the only 
outlet of Paris which the Duke of Guise had left unprotected. 

Pursuit was useless. By the time the vigilant guards of the 
Louvre learned of their prisoner's escape, he had crossed the 
bridge of Saint Cloud, and was out of harm's reach. That 
night he slept at Rambouillet, and the next day in Chartres. 
The king had saved the heads of the League the trouble of 
carrying into effect their threat of going to get Friar Henry in 
his Louvre and carrying him off to the monastery. 1 It was 
evident that this was not exactly what Mendoza and his fellow- 
conspirators — French and Spanish — had anticipated. The press- 
ure of the Parisians had brought Guise to the city before mat- 
ters were quite ripe for the execution of his plans both as to 
Epernon's assassination and as to Henry's arrest and virtual de- 

Meantime Guise, desirous of giving dignity to his newly ac- 
quired lordship of Paris in the eyes of foreign powers, bethought 

1 "Ne tenoient autre langage (i.e., the preachers and the Count of Brissac) 
si non qu'il faloit aller querir frere Henri dans son Louvre." Lestoile, i 251. 


him of no better way than to proffer his kind offices to the 
ambassador of Queen Elizabeth. This was none other than 
Sir Edward Stafford, a high-spirited gentleman and a staunch 
staunch prot- Protestant. How keenly sensitive he was in both 
th^EngUs'h capacities, is seen from an incident that had hap- 
ambassador. p enec i about four years before the events now referred 
to. In 1584, as Corpus Christi approached, he was determined 
that the English Embassy should display no drapery in honor 
of a day consecrated to the exaltation of the lloman Catholic 
doctrine of Transubstantiation. " I have had somewhat to do 
this ' Fete Dieu,' " he wrote to the queen's secretary, " for the 
keeping of my house unhanged, as this bearer can tell you ; 
but at the length I had the victory, and would not permit them 
to hang an inch of anything that belonged to me." ' It tunica 
out in a few days, however, that the ambassador was mistaken 
in supposing that the French had renounced their purpose. In 
vain did Stafford protest that for the king to insist was deroga- 
tory to the queen's dignity and " a breach of the privilege of 
her ambassador ; " the curt reply was " that within, the house 
is free, without, the house is the king's." It was a time for 
prompt action. Not to be forced in his dignity or his con- 
science, Stafford, the day before the occurrence of the church 
festival, "gave over the house" to the owner, and removed his 
quarters to " a little lodging in a garden," where no conformity 
with the hateful practice could be exacted of him, meanwhile 
declaring, " Never will I come into the other again, that they 
may not say they have hung the English ambassador's house 
while I am in it, which is all I can do till I know her majesty's 
pleasure." 2 Such was the man with whom the Duke of Guise 
determined, if possible, to ingratiate himself. 

In the duke's name Count Brissac presented himself at Sir 
Edward Stafford's house, and requested him to give himself no 
uneasiness at what occurred outside, but by no means to go into 
the streets, and promised him the duke's gracious protection. 

1 Sir Edward Stafford to the secretary, May 23, 1584, Murdin's State Papers. 

2 Same to same, May 29, 1584, ibid., 4C4, 405. 


" If," replied Stafford, " I were a private individual, I should at 
once go and throw myself at Guise's feet, humbly thanking him 
sir Edward TOr ui s courtesy. But being here, at the king's court, 
dSestteprb- m behalf °f tne queen my mistress, I neither can nor 
5)uke of 0fthe wil1 liave otner safeguard than the king's." 
Guise. c< «p lie j) uke of Q uige » cont j nue( j Brissac, " did not 

come to Paris to execute any enterprise against the king his mas- 
ter. He is simply acting on the defensive. There was a great 
conspiracy on foot against him and the city of Paris. The 
Hotel de Ville and other buildings are full of gallows on which 
the king intended to hang great numbers of the citizens and 
others. The duke begs you inform the queen your mistress of 
all these things, in order that everybody may understand them." 

" I shall be glad," replied Sir Edward, " to believe it so. To 
speak frankly, what is now occurring in Paris will be thought 
very strange and very ill by all the princes of Christendom. 
No cloak, be it never so gaudily worked, could conceal the de- 
formity of a revolt against one's sovereign. If there were so 
many gallows prepared, we shall more easily believe the fact 
when the gallows are placed upon exhibition. But granted the 
truth of the assertion, it is a hateful and insufferable presump- 
tion for a subject to seek by force to stand in the way of his 
sovereign's administration of justice. I shall notify the queen 
as promptly as possible of everything you tell me, but it is no 
part of my commission to convey to her the views of the Duke 
of Guise. The queen my mistress is wiser than I am, and will 
believe and judge as may seem good to her." 

Losing his temper the count began to bluster. " The people 
of Paris bear you ill-will," said he, " because of the cruelty 
which the Queen of England exercised against the Queen of 
Scotland." Here the ambassador, as in duty bound, interrupted. 
" Stop there, sir, at the word ' cruelty.' An act of merited jus- 
tice is never properly called cruelty. Moreover, I do not be- 
lieve that the people have any spite against me, as you say. 
Why should they ? I am here in a public capacity, and have 
never wronged any one." 

" But have you not arms ? " said Brissac. 

" If you asked me as having formerly been an intimate 


friend of your uncle, Marshal Cosse, perhaps I might tell you, 
but being what I am 1 shall tell you nothing about it." 

" You will be visited by and by, for it is believed that you 
have arms, and there is danger that force will be used." 

" I have two doors to this house," replied Stafford. " I shall 
close and defend them so long as I shall have the ability ; that, 
at least, I may show the whole world that the law of nations 
has been unjustly violated in my person." 

" But tell me, as a friend, have you arms ? " 

66 Since you ask me as a friend, I will tell you as a friend. If 
I were here as a private man, I should have them ; but being 
an ambassador, I have no other arms than right and public 

" I beg that you will have your doors closed," said Brissac in 

" I must not do it," was Stafford's final rejoinder. " The 
house of an ambassador must be open to all comers. Besides, 
I am not in France to sojourn in Paris alone, but near the king, 
wherever he may be." J 

There was no disguising the fact that the abrupt flight of 

Henry of Valois had seriously disarranged the League's plans. 

Once away from the dangerous capital, he had a fresh 

The League / i • i . >i , 

entrenches it- opportunity to assert his authority. Great was the 

self in Paris tit/ •/ 

disappointment of the Parisians, who spared no pains 
to stigmatize his majesty's departure as the disgraceful sequel 
of the conspiracy of the Duke of fipernon and other secret par- 

1 " L'ambassadeur, personnage eloquent et doue de grande prudence, fit a 
Brissac et a Ligue la lecjon qui leur appartenoit," etc., says the author of the 
Recueil des choses memorables. See the conversation reproduced at length 
in the Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 350, 351. On the affair of the Barricades con- 
sult Davila (book ix.), 336-347 ; De Thou, vii. (book 90), 185-195 ; Agrippa 
d'Aubigne, iii. 72-75 ; Lestoile, i. 249-252 ; Lettres d'Etienne Pasquier (Edit. 
Feugere), ii. 304-310 ; Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 337, 338, and 346-350 ; 
Journal d'un cure ligueur (Jehan de la Fosse), 211-214 ; Recueil des choses 
memorables, 660-2 ; Histoire de la journee des Barricades de Paris (writ- 
ten by a member of the League), MS. printed in Cimber et Danjou, Archives 
curieuses, xi. 365-410 ; Histoire tres veritable de ce qui est advenu en ceste 
ville de Paris depuis le vii. May, 1588, etc. (ascribed to Sainct-Yon, an 
"•echevin" of Paris), reprinted, ibid., xi 325-350; Cavriana to Serguidi, 
May 13, 1588, in Negociations avec la Toscane, iv. 780, 781. 


tisans of the heretical Henry of Navarre. " In order to cast 
the king quite down from the height of his reputation, they 
have counselled him to betake himself shamefully to night, and 
to forsake his palace under color of going to the Tuileries." 1 
So wrote the seditious burghers of Paris in letters that were 
intended to excite everywhere throughout France a revolt 
similar to their own. Meanwhile they took good care, under 
Guise's skilful direction, to entrench themselves well against 
any possible attack. The Swiss guards had been permitted to 
follow the king, and the city was placed under charge of men 
in whom the League could safely trust. The coffers of the 
royal exchequer were carefully sealed up — so said Stafford — 
after their contents had been no less carefully appropriated." 
On Saturday, the day subsequent to the king's flight, the Bas- 
tile, after a brief show of resistance made by the officers in com- 
mand, surrendered at discretion. Two or three days later the 
strong castle of Vincennes imitated its example. Some of the 
municipal officers, too loyal to join in the general revolt, made 
their escape. The highest of their number, the " prevot des 
marchands," fell into the hands of the Leaguers at the capture 
of the Bastile, and was reserved to be tried for treason. On 
the following Wednesday these magistrates, together with the 
u procureur de ville," atoned for their attachment to their law- 
ful sovereign by being solemnly deposed from office. An 
assembly of the citizens proceeded at once to fill their places 
with men of an entirely different stripe. 3 Paris was firmly 
under control of the League, whose sway — whether beneficent 
or otherwise, time would show — was to last full five years. 

It is not necessary here to relate in detail the events that 
succeeded — events disgraceful in themselves and having no im- 

1 " Afin de jetter le Roy du haut en bas de sa reputation, ils l'auroient con- 
seille de s'enfuir honteusement, " etc. Letter of the Parisians, above quoted, 
of May 18, 1588, Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 370. 

2 The Duke of Guise " sealed up the king's coffers of his exchequer, but 
took out the money first " A brief discourse, etc., written unto our late 
Queen Elizabeth, by Sir Edward Stafford ; in Hardwick's State Papers, i. 276. 

3 See the contemporary pamphlet " Histoire tres veritable de ce qui est 
advenu en ceste ville de Paris," in Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, 
xi. 350. 

Vol. II.— 4 


mediate bearing upon the fortunes of the Huguenots. Merry- 
hearted Henry of Navarre, with anxieties enough resting upon 
him to crush a man of a less sanguine temperament, received 
in far distant Guyenne the news of the Barricades 

Henry of Na- _ 1 1 • i r , _ ^ 

varre-s satis- and the sorry plight of his cousin, Ilenrv of \ alois. 

faction. _ - L ■, . , , . ', « , 

for a tew moments he said notlnng, startled by the 
strange turn of affairs, and possibly musing upon the effect 
which the king's mishap might have upon the unequal contest 
in which the Huguenots were engaged. Then he sprang up 
gayly from the grass where he had been lying, and gave ex- 
pression to his pent-up feelings in the cheery exclamation : 
" They have not yet caught the Bearnais." It may well be 
that some secret satisfaction mingled with Navarre's compassion. 
His opponent, and the relentless enemy of Protestantism, a 
prince more wedded to Catholicism than any one of the ad- 
herents of the League, had received at the hands of that highly 
orthodox and professedly holy association such treatment ae 
ordinarily reserved for Huguenots alone. Surely it would seem 
that the irony of fate could no further go/ 

If Guise and Mendoza felt deep chagrin when they found 
that the opportunity to seize the king's person had escaped 
them, Henry of Yalois himself was doomed to equal disappoint- 
ment at Chartres. He had confidently counted upon a revul- 
sion in his favor. The Parisians, he imagined, could not fail 
to repent of their misdeeds, and would speedily be suing for 
pardon at his hands. Instead of which, the heads of the League 
had no trouble in making them believe more implicitly than 
ever the story that the king had intended first to garrison and 
then to sack the city. Finding that Henry was not stirred up 
to manly action even by the indignities of which he had of late 
been the recipient, Guise and his party quickly recovered their 
courage. A king too senseless or too cowardly to resent an in- 
sult could be braved with impunity. 

1 "lis ne tiennent pas encore le Bearnois." Lestoile, i. '-2.V.2. 

2 " Lentreprinse que la Ligue a voulu, ces jours passes, faire sur le Roy, 
qui est plus catholique que pas un d'icelle. Toutesfois vous voyez si on s 
laisse de le traicter en huguenot . " Henry of Navarre to Madame de Fonte- 
vrault, May, 1588, Lettres missives, ii. 378, 370. 


Intelligent foreigners versed in history, looking dispassion- 
ately at the actual situation of France, were, indeed, at no loss 
to surest different methods by which Henry could, 

How Paris 

might be as they thought, easily brino; his rebellious capital to 

punished. . . J ? T -i r ~n • 

its knees, lie might remove from Fans to some 
other place the court of parliament, the chamber of accounts, 
and the great body of financial officers through whose hands 
passed the tribute of the provinces. It was calculated that he 
would thus destroy the means of support of more than eighty 
thousand persons who were directly dependent for their daily 
bread upon these three classes of magistrates. 1 He might pro- 
nounce invalid all decisions of legal tribunals, save those of the 
parliament thus transferred. He might declare Guise and all 
his followers to be rebels. He might besiege Paris, and com- 
pel it to return to its allegiance by cutting off the supply of 
food that came down on the rivers Seine and Marne. 2 

But Henry of Yalois had as yet formed no manly resolution. 
He still fancied that he could regain his much-coveted ease with- 
The king's ou ^ a resort to extremities. So when the Parliament 
weak protest. f p ar j s deputed some of its members to proffer ex- 
cuses for what had been done at the capital, his tone was that 
of a whining child rather than that of a man. He prated about 
the fondness he had shown for the city, and the great benefits 
it had derived from his residence there, which had been more 
protracted than that of any one of the last ten occupants of the 
throne of France. He actually entered into a justification of 
his actions and purposes, treating the calumnies of Guise as if 
they had been the true motives of the revolt. He did, it is 
true, mildly suggest the damage he might do to the trade of 
Paris by taking away the courts of judicature and the university ; 
reminding them of the disastrous consequences which had re- 
sulted in the year 1579 — the year of the great plague — from the 
absence of the king and the suspension of parliament. So 

1 " Perche da questi tre magistrate sono nodriti e mantenuti in Parigi piu 
che ottanta mila personi." I do not vouch for the accuracy of Cavri ana's 

- Cavriana to Serguidi, May 13, 1588, Negociations avec la Toscane, iv. 782. 


utterly prostrate was business at that time that men played at 
quoits in the streets of the capital. He had something to say 
also of irritated patience turning into fury, and of what a king 
offended may do. But he soon relapsed into his apologetic atti- 
tude, lie had ever used mildness and not severity. " I am no 
usurper," said he, "but a legitimate king descended from a race 
that has always ruled by gentleness. And as to making an ex- 
cuse of religion, that is a mere fable. Some other path than that 
must be taken. There is not in the world a more 

His undimin- / ^ . , 

ished hatred Catholic prince than 1 am, nor one who so strongly 

of heresy. 

desires the extirpation of heresy. My actions and my 
life have sufficiently testified this to my people. I would that 
it had cost me an arm, so that the last heretic were here in a 
painting upon the walls of this room." ' 

The delegation of parliament had been sent through the 
persuasions of Catharine de' Medici, who, remaining in Paris 
after her son's flight, seemed to have discovered too late that 
her intrigues had gone too far, and that she must lend her sup- 
port to Henry of Valois unless she wished to see his complete 
overthrow. But the language of the king to others was a.- de 
ficient in force as his address to the friendly judges. It w 
just recompense of his timidity that the very acts by mean.- <>f 
which he strove to curry favor with the people were interpreted 
as additional proofs of pusillanimity and only gave strength 
to his enemies. Thus, under guise of affording relief to the 
greatly burdened people, Henry revoked on a single day thirty- 
six of the edicts of preceding years imposing extraordinary 
taxes. He gained nothing thereby but the reputation of a 
poltroon who has not the courage to maintain the ground he 
has taken. 

The success of Guise was a foregone conclusion. The loyal 
servants of the crown, who would have been strong enough im- 

1 " C'est un compte (conte) de parler de religion, il faut prendre un autre chi- 
min. II n'y a au monde prince plus Catholique, ni qui desire tant ['extirpation 
de l'heresie que moy : mes actions et ma vie l'ont assez tesmoigne a mon peo- 
ple. Je voudrois qu'il m'eust couste un bras, et que le dernier heretique 
feust en peinture en ceste chambre.'' Memoires de la Ligue, ii. oOS ; Recueil 
des choses meniorables, 667 ; De Thou, vii. v bk. 91) 211, 212. 


der other circumstances to secure a brilliant victory over the 
League, were at too great a disadvantage. The royal commis- 
sioners sent out to counteract the efforts of the con- 
Discourage - 

mentofthe spirators in the provinces met with some success. 

king s loyal ± * 

subjects. Among them the historian De Thou, who visited Nor- 
mandy, did good service. But the weakness of the king ruined 
everything. lie had not even the moral force to stand by his 
old favorite Epernon, and Epernon's brother La Yalette, whose 
inordinate influence at court had been, and was still, one of the 
chief grounds of complaint. He made no great opposition when 
Epernon, perceiving that the royal support could not be counted 
upon, exhibited some spirit and promptly resigned the gover- 
norship of the province of Normandy. He did, indeed, accede 
to the duke's condition that the post should not be given to any 
of his enemies, and instantly granted it to the loyal Montpen- 
sier before any of the Lorraine princes, never over-modest in 
their requests, had a chance to ask for it. But he willingly 
permitted Epernon to leave court and go to entrench himself 
in Saintonge and Angoumois. 1 Thus while cities and towns 
were passing over to the League, and nobles, even those most 
closely bound to him by considerations of gratitude, w T ere play- 
ing into the hands of his enemies, Henry of Valois was impo- 
tent to adopt a decided policy. It was clear that true courage 
was, in his case, out of the question. Some cowardly and 
treacherous deed, some reminiscence of St. Bartholomew's Day, 
might emanate from his mean and contemptible nature, but no 
open and valorous act. His perplexity, however, was patent to 
all beholders. Every one knew that he had nobody to turn to. 
His mother had more than once played him false. 

Treachery ot . . r 

the royal (Ji his council two-thirds were the pensioners or those 
who sought his crown, and possibly his life. 2 Not a 
word was spoken around the board but it was straightway re- 
ported to Guise, and Guise made good use of his intelligence. 

1 See, besides the tracts in the Memoires de la Ligue, etc., the brief account 
in De Thou, vii. 223. 

8 Agrippa d'Aubigne seems to be justified in stigmatizing the king's official 
advisers as "un conseil desquels les deux tiers tiroient pension de Tautre 
parti. 1 ' Histoire universelle, iii. 77. 


He had been secretly advised by one of the leading statesmen 
at court that his majesty was so terrified that he was resolved 
to have peace on any terms, and he had been counselled by the 
same honorable personage not to abate a tittle of his demands. 
So when Yilleroy, the royal envoy, tried, or made a feint of 
trying, to extort from him some concessions in favor of the 
king, Guise could assume an insolent air and browbeat him. 
" 'S death ! " said he, " I know very well what you have been 
commissioned to agree to. If, then, you do not do your duty, 
you will repent of it." 1 It was no wonder that the poor king, 
a miserable object enough under any circumstances, but now 
doubly miserable, distrusted everybody, concealed his true de- 
signs from all his court, and undertook to do everything him- 
self. No wonder, too, that he was forced to yield on every 
point to the League; for the longer he waited the more em- 
barrassed was he, hearing daily some new and signal act of per- 

It was a proud day for the ambitious Duke of Guise when, 
after the news of the Parisian Barricades reached Rome, Pope 
Guiaeand Sixtus the Fifth sent him a congratulatory letter, in 
popesixtus. w hi c h the pontiff likened him to the most valiant of 
the Maccabees; and when the Duke of Parma, in his delight 
at the triumph of the rebellious subject of the Very Christian 
King, ordered all the chief cities of Flanders to be illuminated 
in honor of the event, and, as a token of friendship and admi- 
ration, sent to Guise his own armor. 3 But it was a still prouder 
day when he compelled the unhappy Henry of Valois, against 
his will and better judgment, to affix his signature to the docn- 

1 Dr. Cavriana, writing in Italian, lias inserted Guise's very words in his 
letter of June, 1588, to the secretary of the Grand Duke of Florence: " Mort- 
dieu ! je scay bien ce que vous avez eu en charge d'accorder ; parquoy, -i 
vous ne le f aites, vous vous repentirez." Nigociations avec la Toscane. iv. 793 

'*' The words in the text are little more than a paraphrase of the lugubrious 
account of Cavriana (ubi supra \ who instances the events at Havre de 1 1 
whither a relation of the late Duke of Joyeuse had lately been sent, who had 
promised to open the gates of the town to the king, but, having been bribed 
by the other side, admitted the king's enemies. 

3 Lestoile, i. 26SJ ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 80, 82. 


ment that has come down to posterity under the name of the 
" Edict of Union." 

The importance of this document in its bearing upon the 
history of the Huguenots during the next ten years requires 
that we should look in detail at its provisions respecting the ex- 
clusive toleration of the Roman Catholic religion. 

In the preamble, Henry, by the grace of God, King of France 

and Poland, was made to recognize his infinite obligation to the 

Almighty for having trusted him with the sceptre of 

The king . , -, i • i i i i - 

forced to sign the most noble realm in the world, a realm wherein 
union, July, the faith of our Lord and Saviour had been sacredly 
taught from the time of the Apostles, and had been re- 
ligiously preserved in the hearts of kings and subjects by reason 
of the zeal and devotion they had entertained for the Holy Cath- 
lic, Apostolic, and Roman religion. In defence of this re- 
ligion the king had himself exposed his life when yet a mere 
lad ; and his resolution had grown with years, so that it was 
now, and ever would be, more dear than royalty and long life. 
In order, therefore, that when called to appear in the presence 
of God, his conscience should not accuse him of any neglect to 
provide, as far as it was possible for the human intellect so to 
do, against any change or alteration in the matter of religion 
that might ensue in France after his decease, his majesty had 
determined to unite all his Catholic subjects with himself for 
the prosecution of the sacred undertaking in which they were 
engaged. To this end, after long consideration, and by advice 
of the queen, his mother, and of the princes and lords of his 
council, he proclaimed the following articles, ten in number, 
which he commanded to be held as " an inviolable and funda- 
mental law' 1 of his kingdom. 

In the first article Henry renewed the oath taken at his coro- 
nation to live and die in the Roman Catholic and Apostolic relig- 
its intolerant i° n > an( ^ honestly (" de bonne foi ") to devote his means 
provisions. anc i even \^ s ]jf e ^ t ] ie extirpation of all schemes and 

heresies condemned by the holy councils, and especially by the 
Council of Trent ; and engaged never to make peace or truce 
with the heretics, or to issue any edict in their favor. The sec- 
ond article imposed upon all the king's subjects, of whatsoever 


rank, the duty of uniting and taking a similar oath for the ex- 
termination of the heretics. The third prescribed that they 
should also swear that, after the death of the present monarch 
without issue, they would recognize as king no prince who was 
himself a heretic, or a favorer of heresy. By the fourth, Henry 
engaged to give no military charge to anyone but a Roman 
Catholic, and forbade that any person be admitted to a judicial 
or financial office without due attestation of his orthodoxy by 
his bishop, or, at least, by a curate supported by the testimony 
of ten other persons of standing and above suspicion. In the 
fifth article provision was made for the safety of the adherents 
of the League, whom the king pledged himself to protect 
against the violence of the heretics equally with those who had 
fought bj 7 his command. In the next three articles the mon- 
arch's subjects were enjoined to swear mutual protection, loyalty 
to the crown, and renunciation of all unions, leagues, and associ- 
ations, whether within or without the kingdom, contrary to the 
present union and hostile to the royal person and authority. 
The ninth article declared all persons who should refuse to sign 
the union, or, having signed it, should renounce it, to be guilty 
of treason, and threatened disobedient cities with the loss of all 
privileges heretofore granted to them. Finally, in a long and 
carefully worded article, the king was made to pardon and con- 
sign to oblivion all the recent acts of the adherents of the League ; 
especially such as had occurred on the twelfth and thirteenth 
days of May ; on the ground that he had been informed that 
those acts had been caused by nothing else than zeal for the 
conservation and maintenance of the Catholic religion. For 
this reason no punishment was ever to be exacted for the levy 
of troops and other hostile practices, and the officers of justice 
were strictly enjoined from holding the participants in the late 
troubles to an account for such sums of the royal revenues as 
had been expended without warrant of law. 1 

1 The text of the Edict of Union, Rouen, July, 1588, is given in the Mo- 
moires de la Ligue, ii. 402-407, in Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 101-105, and in 
Isambert, Recueil des anciennes lois francaises, xiv. 61G-622. There are 
summaries in the Recueil des choses memorables, 607, 668, in De Thou, vii. 
237, etc. 


Nor did the public edict contain all the humiliation of which 
Henry was forced to taste. In the secret articles previously 
The secret agreed upon by the queen mother, on the one hand, 
articles. an( j Q arc ii lia ] Bourbon and the Duke of Guise, on the 
other, there were some important points of which shame or 
policy dictated the omission in the more formal document given 
to the world. Henry of Yalois was pledged to prosecute the 
work of extirpating the Protestants, by sending two "good and 
strong" armies against them. It was stipulated that the com- 
mand of that army which was to march into Dauphiny should 
be intrusted to Guise's brother, the Duke of Mayenne. His 
majesty was very graciously permitted to select the general who 
should lead the second army into Poitou and Saintonge. It 
may have been intended as an equivalent for this sorry conces- 
sion to the royal prerogative, that the term for which certain 
cities had been confided to the princes of the League, by the 
secret articles of Nemours, in 1585, ' was lengthened by four 
years ; so that they were to be restored in 1594, instead of 
1590. Not content with this, the League secured the uninter- 
rupted control of such prominent places as Orleans and Bourges, 
by a provision that gave to its leaders the nomination of the 
governors in case of the death of the present incumbents. A 
sop was even thrown to the pope, by a paragraph which some- 
what vaguely and incoherently prescribed that the decrees of 
the Council of Trent should be published at the earliest mo- 
ment, but added that this should be " without prejudice to the 
rights and authority of the king, and the liberties of the Galli- 
can Church, which shall, within three months, be more amply 
specified and elucidated by an assembly of certain prelates and 
officers of parliament, and others whom his majesty shall depute 
for this purpose." 2 

Henry of Yalois signed his name to the Edict of Union, in 
the city of Rouen, with tears in his eyes, and bewailing his 

1 See above, vol. i., chapter v., p. 346. 

9 "Articles secrets de l'union de l'an 1588," Memoires de Nevers, i. 725- 
729. Also, in Matthieu, Histoire des derniers troubles de France, liv. iii., 
fols. 99-101. 


misfortune in being constrained, while he secured his own per- 
sonal safety, to endanger his estate. 1 At the capital there was 
great glee, and lively congratulations were inter - 

Tears of tlie 

king, and joy of changed over the reconciliation of the king and the 
" Catholic " princes. Paris, ever gay and ever blood- 
thirsty, had lately been diverting itself with a harmless bonfire 
and with a real auto da fe, both at the expense of the Protest- 
ants. It had long been a custom, on the eve of Saint John's dav, 
to heap up on one of the public squares a huge pile of wood, to 
which the king himself, if present, or otherwise some prince of 
the blood, set fire with great ceremony. This year, in default 
of anyone more suitable, the prevot des marchands kindled the 
pyre, over which, suspended from a mast, hung the image of a 
woman, clothed in armor, with a bloody right arm. A sword 
was in her right hand, a book in her left, and from her head 
dangled serpents instead of tresses of hair. The personage rep- 
resented was unmistakable. The burgesses congratulated them- 
selves, and loudly expressed their satisfaction at having burned 
the English Jezebel, at least in effigy, on the streets of the or- 
thodox capital of France. 2 Quite different from this puerile 
diversion was the horrible immolation of the two Huguenot 
women, to which reference was made on a preceding page. 3 

On the twenty-first of July, the edict was brought to parlia- 
ment, and was promptly approved and registered. The same 
day — the eve of the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene — the her- 
alds did their office and made proclamation of it by sound of the 
trumpet. Catharine de' Medici and the younger queen, both 
of whom had remained in Paris from the day of Henry's night, 
took part in the public demonstrations of joy, and were present 
at the singing of a grand Te Deum in the cathedral of Xotre 
Dame. Salvos of artillery were fired on the Place de Greve, 
the scene of many a martyrs death, an appropriate spot for the 
commemoration of the passage of an intolerant law. 4 

1 Lestoile, i. 260. 

2 Mendoza, in a letter to Philip II., dated June 26, 1588. is my authority for 
this incident. De Croze, ii. 348. 3 See above, page 9. 

4 Journal d'un cure ligueur (Jehan de la Fosse), 219. 


No one was more delighted at the publication of the Edict of 
Union than was Bernardino de Mendoza. That careful ambas- 
sador had a keen appreciation of the importance of times and 
seasons. After long urging Guise forward in his 

Satisfaction of i i i i 

Remardinode rebellious course, lie nad, some months since, in- 
formed his royal master, as we have already seen, 
that the duke no longer needed the spur. Of late, if he had 
done anything, he had restrained the Frenchman's excessive 
ardor. " We do not press Mucins to break with his Very 
Christian Majesty," Mendoza wrote to Philip, a fortnight or 
so before the conclusion of the terms of reconciliation, " be- 
cause in that case it would be necessary to pay him the balance 
of three hundred thousand crowns, and your majesty would be 
involved in the embarrassment of afresh war, which would not 
only be ill-timed but prejudicial to the interests of Mucius him- 
self/' ' Indeed, as it was, the penurious envoy of Spain found 
his ingenuity taxed to the utmost. It w T as difficult to frame 
specious excuses for not satisfying Guise's demand for the sum 
just named. It was difficult to induce him to be content with 
the seventy thousand crowns which he had already received. 
The duke complained, not without reason, of the enormous ex- 
penses in which the present contest had involved him. He 
would have found it quite impossible to meet them, but for a 
loan of two hundred thousand crowns, for which he was still 
indebted to the merchants and burgesses of Paris. As for 
himself, he soon betrayed to Mendoza, "by tone as well as by 
word, that he had begun too late to regret that he had not given 
the rein to the populace on the day of the Barricades, and 
permitted the execution of projects long since formed. 2 

Meantime the Parisians daily flocked to the Palais de Jus- 
tice to sign their names to the Union which was expected to seal 
the fate of the Huguenots in France. 3 

1 Mendoza to Philip II., June 26, 1588, De Croze, ii. 346. 

2 Mendoza to Philip II., July 24, 1588, De Croze, ii. 350, 351. 

3 Cavriana to Serguidi, August 8, 1588, Negociations avec la Toscane, iv. 
806, 810. 





So far as the Huguenots as a religious body were concerned, 
it cannot be said that the Edict of Union seriously affected their 
position of standing before the law. The Edict of Nemours, 
nots^the promulgated three years before, had already placed 
eye of the law. them outside of the body politic. It abrogated every 
provision made for their protection, forbade their solemn wor- 
ship of God on pain of death, allowed their ministers but a 
single month to escape from the kingdom, and gave such of the 
laity as refused to abjure but half a year before they too most 
go into exile. To this severe legislation the Edict of Union 
could add little. It could band the Roman Catholics of France 
more closely together in the work of extirpating heresy, by im- 
posing it as a duty upon all classes, from the king down to the 
humblest citizen, and by making apathy or refusal on the part 
of anyone a crime of the nature of treason. It could make the 
tenure of office to depend on direct proof of unimpeachable Cath- 
olicity, rather than on the absence of proof of Protestantism. 
It could exact an oath from the monarch that he would con- 
clude neither peace nor truce with the Huguenots. But this 
was all. I dismiss, for the moment, the matter of the succes- 
sion, a question upon which, indeed, the later edict gave no un- 
certain voice, by declaring all heretics and favorers of heresy to 
be incapable of inheriting the crown. 

Taken together, the two edicts of 15S5 and 158S constituted 
the proscriptive legislation for the enactment of which the in- 
tolerant party, with the Roman Catholic clergy at its head, had 
for years been longing, and which it now hailed as the true and 
proper fundamental law, to be maintained at any cost. 


The Huguenots, on the contrary, had, from this time for- 
ward, but one object in view : they would compel the repeal of 
these inimical ordinances. What should be substituted was not 
Husuenot de- so c l ear « The more sanguine insisted upon the per- 
SVrjan- ^ ect freedom offered on paper by the Edict of 15T6, 
uary, 1562. as ^ e 011 ly basis on which the permanent structure of 
peace could be reared. But the great majority saw T in the pres- 
ent or prospective situation of affairs little chance of securing 
so ideal a liberty, and were consequently content to claim the 
privilege of other edicts less liberal in theory, but practically 
more valuable in their concessions. Only two royal enactments 
met the requirements of the case. The Edict of 1577, which 
introduced the Peace of Bergerac, had in its favor the circum- 
stance that it had been generally accepted as a " modus vivendi " 
— if not the best that could be imagined, yet the only one which 
had been tried and found feasible. With some of its features 
modified by the Conference of JSerac and the Peace of Fleix, 
it had for a time bid fair to enjoy a permanence unusual in the 
fluctuating code of French law. But the greater number of the 
Protestants looked with peculiar affection upon an older enact- 
ment — the Edict of the seventeenth of January, 1562. The 
reasons for this preference are clearly set forth in a remark- 
able petition presented, a few months later, to Henry the 
Third at the second states of Blois. " We very humbly beg 
your majesty," said the Protestants, "since you aim at restoring 
everything in your kingdom to such tranquillity that your 
memory may be for ever happy and blessed of all, that it may 
please you to restore to us the liberty of the first edict, made 
for our relief so soon as it w r as discovered that we were alto- 
gether different persons, both in the matter of religion and in 
questions of state, from what we had previously been calum- 
niously declared to be — the edict which, from the name of the 
month in which it w r as published, has been called the Edict of 
January. We do not, however, ask for that edict in particular 
because in it more was granted to us than in all the others — 
although this must cause us so much the more earnestly to de- 
sire it — but rather because that edict has features that should 
render it agreeable to your majesty and to all men, and to us, 


above all the rest. For all the other enactments, bearing the title 
of edicts of pacification, are marked with the stamp of troubles 
and of civil war, the memory of which, whereas it ought to be 
wholly abolished, is hereby preserved. To this we must add, 
that to many persons it has seemed that these edicts were 
not granted by your majesties of right good will, but rather 
snatched from your hands by the violence of arms. But the 
Edict of January had no other foundation than an inquiry into 
the situation, which was at that time peaceable and friendly, 
when in a full assembly, of such a character as we have already 
set forth, it pleased your majesties to assign to us places where 
we might, under your protection, serve God according to our 
conscience and belief. And everybody, Sire, can recall that 
this Edict of January had so satisfied both parties, that it would 
have lasted until this moment, had not the turbulent audacity 
of the predecessors of our present enemies broken it with all vio- 
lence and cruelty, and thus laid the foundation of the troubles 
which have afflicted us and your entire realm of France."' ' 

Indignant as the Huguenots were at the continued persecu- 
tion of which they were the victims, it can scarcely be said that 
they were surprised or disappointed at the publication 

The Protes- 

tantsnotdis- of the Edict of Union. The character of Henry of 
Valois was no new subject of study. If the Duke of 
Guise believed himself to be familiar with it to its inmost re- 
cesses, there were others, and the King of Navarre \\; 
the number, upon whom the opportunities they had enjoyed 
for watching him closely had not been thrown away. They 
were not taken at unawares by the kings imbecility, and 
were, therefore, but little discouraged when they learned that 
he had yielded to all the League's demands. Meanwhile they 
were resolved to continue without abatement the desperate 
struggle against the united forces of the monarch and the un- 
ruly subjects whom he had just united to himself. A few 
Huguenot nobles and gentlemen, it is said, found in the new 

1 "Remonstrance et reqneste tres-lmmble adressee an Roy en l'asseuiblee 
des Estats, par les Francois exilez pour la Religion, ses tres-lnunbles et tres- 
obeissans subjects." Reprinted in Menioires de la Ligue, iii. 149, 150. 


edict an occasion for abandoning what appeared to them to be a 
forlorn hope ; but the number of such persons was insignificant 
in comparison with the steadfast, or even with those who had 
yielded after the Edict of Nemours. 

Incidents in themselves trifling have frequently an important 
influence at critical junctures in the world's history, and serve 
to encourage or dishearten men in a degree quite disproportion- 
ate to the intrinsic magnitude of the occurrences. So it was 
that the news of a success gained by Henry of Navarre, not far 
from La Rochelle, accomplished the important end of infusing 
new strength into the hearts of the Huguenots, while it dis- 
pelled the illusions of such courtiers as had taken for granted 
that all was now over with the son of Jeanne d'Albret, and 
that the Protestant stronghold would easily be reduced by 
siege. At any other time the engagement might have been 
viewed as unworthy of special mention. 

Of the two rivers which bear the name of Sevre, and jointly 
give name to a department of the present republic of France, 
The" lie de that which flows by the city of Niort — the Sevre 
Marans." niortaise — presents the unusual phenomenon of losing 
in breadth and depth the farther it proceeds from its source. 
The same river which at Maille is a respectable stream, three 
hundred feet wide, contracts before reaching the ocean into a 
narrow channel hardly more than one-fifth as broad. The very 
considerable mass of water collected from an extensive basin 
seems to lose itself in marshes, or to be diverted into minor 
conduits. These have made of much of the vicinity of the 
Sevre, from the village of Coulon, not far from Niort, down to 
the town of Marans, scarcely two leagues from the mouth of 
the river, a morass difficult to cross in the rainy season, both 
because of the uncertain footing offered by the wet soil, and 
because of the ditches and canals intersecting it. 1 From time 
to time tracts of dry and fertile land are met, as one descends 
the Sevre, which, from the circumstance that they are thus cut 
off from the mainland, are known as " islands." The most im- 

1 See the "Description ehorograpliique de l'Aunis " prefixed to Arcere, His- 
toire de la ville de la Roclielle, i. 165, 1G6. 


portant of these in the sixteenth century, and perhaps even at 
the present day, is the so-called " lie de Marans, 1 ' a long and 
narrow tract lying between the river itself, on the north, and 
the Canal de la Brune, or of Saint Michael, on the south. The 
little domain, which had a story of its own running back through 
a good part of the Middle Ages, was considered of sufficient 
value by its possessors to be provided with not less than six 
forts commanding the approaches both from the land side and 
from the mouth of the river. 1 

The lie de Marans was at all times a favorite stopping-place 
of Henry of Navarre, to whom, amid the harassing cares of a 
life of unrest and anxiety, the occasional glimpse of its quiet 
and placid existence seemed doubly sweet. So it was that, 
two years before the adventure which I am about to narrate, he 
sketched, in a letter from La Rochelle to the Countess of Gram- 
mont, a charming picture of its beauties, such as can scarcely 
be found elsewhere in his voluminous correspondence. Not 
the fabulous island of Calypso was painted in more glowing 
colors by the father of epic poetry, than was this attractive 
spot by the enthusiastic pen of the Huguenot prince. 

" I arrived here last night from Marans," writes Henry, " hav- 
ing visited the place in order to make provision for its safety. 
O, how much I longed for you! It is the place most suited to 
your fancy that I have ever seen. For that reason alone I am 
about to secure it by exchange. It is an island shut in by marshy 
groves, in which, at every hundred paces, there are channels by 
which one can go by boat in quest of wood. The water is 
limpid and has a gentle now ; the channels are of all breadths, 
the boats of all sizes. Amid this wilderness there are a thou- 
sand gardens that can be reached only by boat. A stream passes 
by the foot of the castle walls, in the midst of the town, which 
affords as good lodging as Pan. There are few houses from the 
door of which one cannot step into one's little boat. This stream 
extends in two arms which not only float large boats, but per- 
mit the passage of ships of fifty tons. The distance is but tw< i 

i Ibid., i. 137. The detailed map of Aunis prefixed to the first volume of 
Arcere will be found very useful to a clear understanding of the geography. 


leagues to the sea; it is, in fact, a channel, not a river. Up 
stream, large boats go as far as to Niort, twelve leagues distant. 
There are couutless mills and isolated farms. Countless, too, 
are the kinds of singing birds that frequent the sea. I send 
you some of their feathers. Of fish, the quantity, the size, and 
the price are a marvel — a large carp is sold for three sous, and 
live sous are paid for a pike. It is a place of great traffic, and 
all by boat. The land is full of wheat of a very fine quality. One 
can live there agreeably in time of peace, and securely in time 
of war. One can delight one's self there with the object of one's 
love, or bewail its absence. O, how pleasant it is to sing there ! " ' 
Such was the spot which Henry of Navarre selected, late in 
the month of June, and while the preliminary negotiations were 
its ca ture s ^ m P ro g ress relative to the Edict of Union, for an 
b n He£r ke <3 exploit which should show that the Huguenots were 
Navarre. y Q ^ n0 contemptible foes. Marans, which had for- 
merly been in friendly hands, had, not long since, fallen into 
the hands of the enemy. It was of importance to prevent them 
from obtaining a secure foothold in the province of Aunis and 
within little more than a dozen miles of La Rochelle. Provided 
with a goodly number of portable bridges, Henry set foot upon 
the neighboring island of Charron, on the morning of Friday, 
the twenty-fourth of June, and aided by two light galiots which 
he had brought up the stream, attacked the small fort known as 
Le Braut, both from the front and from the rear. The surren- 
der of Le Braut was closely followed by that of the only other 
redoubt upon the island, and the next day the King of Navarre 
was able to approach the lie de Marans itself. But it was no 
easy matter to cross. The channel was wide and deep. On 
the opposite side stood two forts, distant about six hundred paces 
from each other, commanding with their cannon the open ground 
where the Huguenots must prepare the materials for their 
bridge. A redoubt, newly constructed between the forts, cov- 
ered the very spot where the stream must be spanned. But 
the king did not relinquish his venturesome undertaking. The 

1 " Ha! qu'il y faict bon chanter! " Henry of Navarre to the Countess of 
Grammont, June 17, 1586. Lettres missives, ii. 224, 225. 
Vol. II.— 5 


whole of Saturday was spent in discharging the rude artillery 
carried by the galiots against the forts, and in skirmishes with 
the enemy. At evening the boats were ordered to drop down 
toward the sea, while the Huguenot troops retired from sight. 
If, however, the enemy imagined that the attack was abandoned, 
they were quickly undeceived. It was scarcely three o'clock on 
Sunday morning before the Huguenots returned. Before the 
sun was well up they might be seen busily preparing their 
bridge, bringing forward their mantelet, or movable shield, un- 
der cover of which they made ready to advance, and dragging 
their boats into position to facilitate the crossing. Henry of Xa- 
varre was himself conspicuous at the head of his troops, ar- 
ranging the infantry in battle array, and marshalling his cavalry 
to give the foot-soldiers proper support. The enemy in vain 
disputed the paggage. " At eleven o'clock," says the chronicler, 
who appears to have been an eye-witness and a par- 

The soldiers 

i.rayandsing ticipant in the action, "prayer having been offered 

psalms. /"in i i i • i l ni 

up to (rod, and psalms having been sung by an these 
regiments and troops of cavalry, and all having received orders 
as to what they were to do, the army began to force the 
which was guarded, on the opposite bank, by the regiment of 
M. du Cluseau and the company of light horse of the Sienr de 
la Tremblaye, and which was flanked by two forts and defended 
in front by a third fort and by a trench." The struggle was 
stubborn on both sides. The King of Navarre, ever watchful 
and ever exposing himself with reckless imprudence, led the way, 
riding with head bare and without armor, apparently intent 
only upon encouraging his followers to press on to victory. Al- 
though most of the Roman Catholics fought well, some of them 
consternation na( ^ entered the battle with serious misgivings, and 
cithoiic° man some were panic-stricken. There were those who. 
troops. when they saw the Huguenots kneel upon the ground 

before the action began, exclaimed one to another in conster- 
nation : " They are praying to God ! They will beat us as they 
did at Coutras ! " J Suffice it to say that, before the sun set. 

1 The fullest account of this affair is the " Discours de la reprise de lisle, 
forts et Chasteau de Marans, faite par le Roy de Navarre, au mois de Juin, 


the Roman Catholic force was routed and the forts were in the 
possession of the Huguenots. Within three days every re- 
maining stronghold of the enemy upon the island, even to the 
castle of Marans itself, had fallen into their hands. 

Xor was this the only exploit of the restless King of Navarre. 

"While the grand army of the west tarried, which, under the 

Duke of Severs, was expected to reduce the Protes- 

of the King of tants of Poitou and Guyenne, the Huguenot prince 


put his leisure to good use. From the walls of La 
Rochelle northward to the river Loire he made himself vir- 
tually master of the districts bordering upon the sea. Although 
the names of Montaigu, of Beauvoir-sur-mer, and of the other 
places which he captured may be obscure, and although the 
Protestant gains may seem inconsiderable, no slight advantage 
was secured. It was something that, in the months immedi- 
ately succeeding the publication of the Edict of Union, when 
men were predicting the speedy overthrow of the Protestant 

1588," reprinted in Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 411-416. A more general refer- 
ence is made in the " Discours sommaire des choses plus memorables qui se 
sont passees, es sieges, surprises et reprises de l'isle de Marans en Onix (Au- 
nis), es annees 1585, 86, 87 et 88," ibid., ii. 53-84. Respecting the last inci- 
dent mentioned in the text, the former says, p. 413 : " Aucuns deux out dit 
depuis, que plusieurs d'entr'eux, voyans les regimens le genouil en terre, 
commencerent a dire: lis prient Dieu ; ils nous battront comme a Coutras. " 
The language of the other account, which appears to be not free from a tinge of 
exaggeration, is even stronger (p. 83): " Lesquels (par leur rapport mesme) 
s'estans preparez a la resistance, et voyans les trouppes du Roy de Navarre, 
qui faisoyent la pointe, s'estre mises le genouil en terre, pour (a leur cous- 
tume) faire leur priere, avant que d'aller au combat, se ressouvenans des 
prieres qui avoyent aussi este faites a Coutras, entrerent en tel eft'roy qu ils ne 
tendirent quasi aucun combat, seulement adviserent au moyen de se sauver. 
Aucuns furent tuez en l'ardeur de la charge, plusieurs se sauverent par les 
marais." See, also, De Thou, Agrippa d'Aubigne, Recueil des choses me- 
morables, etc. The magical influence which the sight of Huguenot soldiers 
kneeling before the engagement exerted over their Roman Catholic opponents, 
appears to have connected itself, over a hundred years later, in the time of 
Jean Cavalier, with the sound of the favorite battle-psalm of the Protestants — 
the 68th. So, at least, an officer who had fought against them informed the 
author of the anonymous Histoire des Camisards (London, 1754), i. 244. 
" Quand," said he, " ces diables-la se mettoient a- chanter leur B. de chanson 
'Que Dieu se montre,' nous ne pouvions plus etre les maitres de nos gens: 
ils fuyoient comme si tous les diables avoient ete a leurs trousses." 


faith in France, Henry of Navarre, often with a pa Itrv follow- 
ing of a hundred horse and a few companies of foot, should be 
abfe to compel the Duke of Mercceur to abandon the siege 
S Hi guenot'towns and seek safety in the wails of the ci ty ol 
Nantes The circumstance that the prince whom the Spanish 
Shis ador and his allies of the League still affected to 
a™ he " Bearnais," had skirmished with the troops of the royal 
governor of Brit any, had carried off eight standards, had cap- 
fid fur hundred^ fifty prisoners, had taken a great num- 
ber of horses and baggage-wagons, within two leagues of Bum , 
a suburb of the greafprovincial ^P«*»£^*£ 
both on friends and on enemies, not much infenoi to that 
which might, at another time, have followed the winning of a 

^fSecTmpletion of the military "-ven.n, Jns t rcferi,, 

whose consideration is germane to the subject £ l . ■ 

i „„ far »= it affected the external relations of the Huguenot. 

nor national synod was possible. In tact, six yea 

JL, mav he read in detail *££-" ZZSZiZ *U« 
SS"*535 S-JESSSS^ Histoid aes — *o»^ 
toX - m * „, " te, the convocation of the States of Blois. dated 

" Ther °^ Tl588 >s ^"vlsambert, Recneii ta ancienne, 1«- 
Chartres, May 31, lo»», is given j 

frangaises, xiv. 613-616. See above vol. i., chapter v., p. 290. 

3 In August and September, 1584. feee aoove, vu 


and confusion were yet to pass before the churches could again 
send their ministers and elders to confer together respecting mat- 
ters of religious doctrine and practice. Meanwhile, 

Huguenot po- & r ' 

Htioai assembly ] lowe ver, the political situation admitted of no such 

at La Rochelle, ' t 

November. delay. More than one question of practical impor- 
tance in the conduct of the war pressed for an answer. Twice 
had the attempt been made to bring together in a politi- 
cal assembly the representatives of all portions of Protestant 
France, but the expense, the difficulties of the way, or the su- 
pineness of some of the more distant provinces, had interfered 
with the realization of the plan. Now, however, so consider- 
able a number of delegates came together in the city of La 
Rochelle, that on Monday, the fourteenth of November, 1588, 
the assembly was formally opened. Great hopes had been en- 
tertained of it in advance. " It will heal many public sores and 
many private ones," Duplessis Mornay had written. 1 It was a 
body sufficiently large and sufficiently dignified to assume the 
place which circumstances beyond its control compelled it to 
occupy, of the Protestant counterpart of the Roman Catholic 
states general of Blois. In actual numbers, indeed, it could 
not bear comparison, but the delegates represented both the 
nobility and the third estate of the kingdom, and came from 
every province in which the Reformed faith could boast of ad- 
herents. From Picardy, on the north, to the Protestant dis- 
tricts at the base of the Pyrenees, on the south ; from Brittany, 
on the west, to the principality of Orange and to Dauphiny, on 
the east, there was scarcely an important bailiwick or sene- 
chaussee that had not its deputy. Besides the thirty-seven 
representatives of the nobles and the towns, the King of Na- 
varre was permitted to have nine deputies of his own. This 
concession, however, was distinctly understood to furnish no 
precedent for future assemblies. The meeting was held in the 
spacious common hall of the " echevinage " of La Rochelle. 
From the ceiling hung a great number of standards taken from 
the enemy — trophies of the recent successes of the Huguenots. 
The king himself presided at the opening exercises, supported 

' Duplessis Mornay to Buzanval, October 18, 1588, Memoires, iv. 271. 


by Viscount Turenne, his lieutenant-general for the province of 
Guyenne, by La Tremouille, colonel of his light infantry, and 
by many other lords, barons, viscounts and gentlemen, as well 
as by the members of his council. 1 

Two days later, on Wednesday, the sixteenth of Xovember, 
after the customary invocation of God's name, the King of Na- 
varre delivered a long speech, setting forth the chief causes for 

which the assembly had been summoned. Although addr< 

of this kind do not ordinarily call for more than a passing allu- 
sion, I cannot avoid noticing a discourse which throws no little 
light upon the attitude of the Huguenot protector, and is inter- 
esting in view of the events culminating in his abjuration, still 
almost five years distant. 

" Long have I desired the convocation of this assembly," said 

Henry ; " but it seems that God has been reserving it until 

now, in order that He mi^ht oppose it to the con- 

Addressof . tvi • mi 

the King of spiracy or the assembly at Ulois. lhe necessities 

Navarre. r i • i ■ i • 

of the times ought to impel everyone to institute a 
strenuous opposition against the enemy, whose aim must he 
clear to all, directed, as it is, both at the ruin of the king 
and at the overthrow of the entire state. As for myself, I 
have, until now, spared neither property nor life in so holy 
a cause. Of this my past actions can bear witness. You 
cannot raise your eyes," he added, glancing upward, ''without 
seeing the proofs. If the difficulties go on increasing, I also 
feel that my courage is redoubled of God to persevere in the 
determination I long since formed, which is, to expend, in do- 
fence of the churches, the last drop of my blood and the last 
fragment of my possessions. Hereunto I feel myself called by 
the Almighty. I desire solely that the world may discern in 
this resolution my upright intentions. Herein I have ever 
walked soundly, truly, sincerely, and in the sight of God : and 
thus I desire, more than ever, to do in future. I regret, in- 

1 Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 576. 

2 The obsolete sense of the word which Henry employed — " monopole " 
(Latin, " monopolinni ") — is explained by Du Cange, Glossarium ad scrip- 
tores mediae et infimae Latinitatis, s. v. : "Hinc denique eadeni vox ad quas- 
vis illicitas confoederationes nuxit." 


deed, that there are those by whom my labors have not been 
recognized, and by whom my actions have been misrepresented. 
Yet daily do I pray to God that He may grant me the grace 
to lead His people through so many horrors and such fearful 
deserts to a safe and blessed rest — even should I not myself be 
permitted to partake of it, even should it be at the price of 
my own life. The length of the war and the license of arms 
have, to my great regret, introduced many disorders, for which 
I desire that provision be made in the best manner possible, 
to the glory of God, and the advantage of the king, the state, 
and every individual person in the realm. To the consideration 
of this subject I beg every member of this assembly to bring 
an unbiassed mind, zealous for the public good. This being so, 
I am confident that God will bless your deliberations, and en- 
able you all to gather their fruit, for His own glory and the 
deliverance of His children." 

Next the King of Navarre proceeded to portray the happy 
results that would flow, in so holy a cause as that in which the 
Huguenots were engaged, from an indissoluble union, and from 
mutual agreement, for the firm establishment of every form of 
good order. In this he exhorted them all to persevere as here- 
tofore ; so much the more as the innovations and changes in- 
troduced by the malice of the enemy seemed more imperatively 
to demand it. Especially did he ask them to make provision 
for that which most concerned the glory and service of God — 
the order, government, and discipline of the Church. 

" And," he added, " that the wrath of God be not further 
provoked by the oaths, blasphemies, abductions, lewdness, 
thefts, forbidden games, and other excesses that have, by the 
misfortune of war, found their way into the practice of some, 
I require that the ordinances made to this end be strictly en- 
forced by all governors and magistrates, and be observed with- 
out any dissimulation or respect of persons. And I enjoin 
upon the same magistrates, under severe penalties, that they 
see to it that the discipline of the Church have its due weight 
and authority." 

The king closed with a plea that proper provision should 
be made for the wants of the poor, and that care should be 


exercised in the selection of competent men for all public 
offices. 1 

The Huguenot assembly replied to Navarre's address in words 

as cordial as his own. The delegates humbly thanked him 

both for the care his maiestv had been pleased to 

Cordial re- . i • i 1 • i 

sponseof the exercise over their churches, as their true and lawful 

delegates. -i r i iiiti • 

protector, and tor the interest he had displayed m 
the common weal. They pledged their persons, their lives, and 
their estates to his service, and begged that God would con- 
tinue to extend to him His blessing and favor, for His own 
glory, the preservation of His Church, and the public prosper- 
ity and peace. 2 

The King of Navarre's speech was an excellent one, full of 
noble thoughts and high aspirations such as his Majesty knew 
well how to frame in language, even without the help of the 
great heart and ready pen of Duplessis Mornay. And in some 
sense the speaker was not merely playing a part when he 
The protes- uttered them. His higher and better nature in- 
incorSisten- 8 dorsed them in every particular. But the exhorta- 
cies- tions to a careful application of the ecclesiastical and 

civil laws against the various forms of vice and nncleanness, 
have a strange sound in our ears as they come from the lips of 
the royal orator. We are each moment tempted to ask our- 
selves whether his auditors were able to banish from their 
minds the name of the Countess of Grammont and the memory 
of that fatal delay after Coutras ; whether the grave deputies 

1 The accounts of Henry's speech differ considerably from one another, and 
I have found it by no means easy to bring them into complete harmony. I 
have followed in the text chiefly the authority of the Memoirea de la Ligne 
(ii. 577, 578), of which the preface to the second volume bears the date of May 
16, 1589, or precisely six months after the delivery of the speech ; but I have 
had under my eyes, and have made use of the brief statement of the Histoire de 
la vie de Messire Philippes de Mornay (Leyden, 1647), 119, 120 ; the longer 
" Proposition du roy de Navarre en l'assembh''e teneue a La Rochelle," in Me- 
moires de Duplessis Mornay, iv. 272-5 ; Cayet, Chronologie novenaire, 68, 89 
De Thou, vii. 306, 307 ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 133 : Anquea, 39 ; Von Po- 
lenz, iv. 571, etc.; and Stahelin, 189, etc.. who inadvertently speaks of the 
assembly as a "Synod." 

2 Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 578. 


could suppress the feeling that the man who spoke so elo- 
quently in favor of purity, while his private life was not above 
reproach, was but playing a part. 

Henry of Navarre's associates in the great struggle for relig- 
ious liberty now in progress were no cowards. Not even the 
strong conviction that his assistance in the desperate struggle 
Frank remon- was indispensable to the success of the good cause, 
was potent enough to seal their lips. In this very 
crisis there were found deputies bold and candid enough to 
remonstrate with him on his present course. His faults and 
his blunders, his prodigal gifts to the unworthy and his neglect 
of the deserving, his favors extended to members of the League 
in the vain hope of winning them over, his amours and the 
great expense they entailed, at a time when faithful servants of 
his crown were dying of hunger — these and other things were 
told him to his face with wonderful frankness. He learned 
much of what upright men thought of his course from the 
ministers of the gospel, whom, in the parlance of the times, 
he had not yet succeeded in " civilizing." Jean Gardesi, a 
prominent pastor of Montauban, enjoys the honor of being de- 
scribed by Agrippa d'Aubigne as " the most severe Nathan " 
among them all. 1 

It is worthy of note that Henry of Navarre bore all this 

sound advice and rebuke with a patience for which few would 

have given him credit. 2 As he had not been offended by the 

plainness of speech of Theodore Beza, and even 

Henry hears r r ? 

them patient- thanked the aged reformer for his Christian candor, 

ly. . 

so he took the counsels of Gardesi and others in the 
best part. Was this because he was callous to appeals of the 
kind now addressed to him, but was content, from motives of 
policy, to allow them to be uttered and then to be dismissed un- 
heeded ? I cannot believe it was so, at least at this stage of his 
history. A careful examination leads rather to the view that, 
while by no means ready to renounce his sinful pleasures, the 

! Histoire universelle, iii. 133. 

2 " II supporta le tout avec merveilleuse patience," says Agrippa d'Aubigne, 
iii. 133. 


king still cherished the memory of the virtuous example and 
the wise precepts of his mother. If disinclined to conform his 
life to the strict code of Huguenot morals, he was, nevertheless, 
frank enough to admit, in effect if not by words, that the code 
in question had the full approval of his conscience. The Hu- 
guenot minister who rebuked him had only discharged his 
duty. Henry of Navarre was not disposed to find fault with 
him for being consistent. Whether he would alter his own 
conduct in consequence, was another question. 

But the prince so wonderfully patient of censure in matters 
pertaining to his private life, was quite a different personage 
Heisintoier- when the political situation was touched upon, lie 
oaf ? P oS ti was g rea tly displeased, and showed no reluctance to 
tion - testify his annoyance, at the opposition exhibited by 

some of the deputies to what the provinces styled the " pro- 
tectoral tyranny." Any measures proposed with the view of 
re-establishing the former order of things and taking new pre- 
cautions vexed him. The fact was that in his eyes the political 
rank to which he aspired, with the prospective succession to the 
crown of France upon the death of the present possessor of the 
throne, seemed of far greater consequence than any question of 
religious faith or practice. He forgot that others might not 
take the same view ; and, it is said, ventured to sound the as- 
sembly at La Kochelle as to the propriety of that body's peti- 
tioning the states general of Blois for the k ' instruction n of the 
King of Navarre by means of a Council ! "When he found that 
the sturdy Protestant delegates would hearken to no such sug- 
gestion, he did not abandon the idea, but himself sent to ask 
for "instruction." The ridicule with which his peti- 
for "instruc- tion was received by the adherents of the League at 
Blois was only equalled by the indignation felt bv 
the " consistorial," or more thoroughly religious party among 
his fellow Protestants. 1 

Of the results of the deliberations of the Assembly of La 
Rochelle, much as they present that would be of interest to a 

1 Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 133, 148 ; Stalielin, Uebertritt Konig Heinriehs 
les Vierten, 191. 


student of the political antiquities of the Huguenot party, but 
little can, in the very nature of the case, be said here. 1 It pro- 
vided, first of all, for an oath to be assumed by all 
oftheHugue- the leaders, without distinction of rank, to remain 
faithful to the Confession of Faith promulgated by 
the first Synod of the Church, and to uphold an indissoluble 
union among themselves. Henry of Navarre, as Protector of 
the Cause, pledged his word to devote himself unreservedly to 
the maintenance of good laws, and to be guided by the advice 
of the council a that should be given him. The deputies in 
turn, while distinctly protesting their undiminished allegiance 
to the King of France, swore submission to the authority of 
Henry of Navarre and support of his arms against those 
who, through hatred of Protestantism, should resist his will. 
The protec- -^ defined the constitution of the council — a represen- 
tor's council, tative body, iive of whose members were to be deputed 
by as many provincial assemblies, and five more to be chosen 
by the national assembly itself. One member was to be chosen 
by the city of La Pochelle. All the princes of the blood and 
peers of France that should espouse the Protestant side, as well 
as noblemen of tried valor such as La Noue, Turenne, Mont- 
morency, La Tremouille, Chatillon, and Lesdiguieres, were 
also permitted to have a seat. 

The minute regulations as to the convocation of annual pro- 
vincial assemblies, the levy of troops, the management of the 
common funds, and the administration of justice, need not de- 
tain us. 3 More interesting, from our point of observation, is the 

1 See the very full statements in Anquez, Histoire des assemblies politiques 
des Reformes de France, 40-50. 

- " Le tout par protestation expresse de ne nous departir de la naturelle 
sujetion que nous devons au roi, notre souverain seigneur, auquei nous jurons 
et protestons devant Dieu vouloir rendre toute obeissance et fidelite dues, 
l'empire souverain de Dieu demeurant en son entier." Anquez, 40. 

3 It may, however, be noted that provision was made for a very complete 
system of courts of justice. These included tbe "sovereign court" already 
existing for Dauphiny, and several new courts — one '' mi-partie," or composed 
of an equal number of Protestants and Roman Catholics, at Montpellier in 
Languedoc ; others, composed exclusively of Protestants, at Saint Jean d'An- 
gely, Bergerac, and Xerac ; and a seneschal's court at Castres. The letters 


solicitude exhibited, even in the midst of a desperate struggle for 
very existence, for the maintenance of a body of religious teach- 
ers, and for the promotion of higher learning. With the former of 
provision for these two objects in view, a portion of the ecclesiastical 
teKrTand revenues which the Huguenots might seize was to be 
for education, applied to the support of the Protestant pastors, and. 
in case of their death, to that of their needy widows and chil- 
dren. To accomplish the second object, it was arranged that a 
university should be founded at La Pochelle. Its income was 
to be derived from the Romish ecclesiastical revenues. The 
faculty was to consist of one professor and one doctor of 
theology, and several professors of humanities. The first two 
were provided with salaries of eight hundred livres each, the 
others were to have six hundred. Forty-six scholars were to be 
admitted. Languedoc and the larger Protestant provinces had 
each the privilege of sending eight scholars ; the smaller could 
send but two or four. Every student was allowed a sum of 
money for his support ; but the grant to the student of theology 
was four times as great as that given to the student of humani- 
ties. All the matriculants, excepting the sons of doc 
ministers, were required to enter into a formal engagement to 
pursue a systematic course of study ; and no one was to be ad- 
mitted to the institution under the age of seven year-. 

An assembly so solicitous for the advancement of religion 
and sound learning may well be pardoned, even if it showed 
some lack of confidence in the wk Protector " of the Reformed 
Churches, and was not quite so careful as it might have been 
not to wound his ambition or his vanity. As it was. when the 
convocation closed, on Sunday, the seventeenth of December, 
with preaching, the administration of the Lord's Supper, and pub- 
lic prayers, and with a ceremonial not inferior in dignity to that 

patent for the institution of a "sovereign court" at Saint Jean d'Angely 
were issued in the name of the assembly, December, 22, 1588. and were veri- 
fied by that court in the following spring (March '28. 1589). '* without prejudice 
to the rights of the king." This court was suppressed by Henry IV. a mouth 
after his accession. See Anquez, 129, and Soulier, Histoire des edits de 
pacification, 175, 176. 

1 Anquez, Appendice, 454, 455. 


which characterized the opening, the King of Navarre was 
more delighted than any one else. The month of its sessions 
had brought him face to face with unpleasant truths. " You 
thought me relieved because I had retired into our garrisoned 
towns," he wrote to the Countess of Grammont. "In truth, 
were there to be another assembly, I should go stark mad. All 
is finished, and well finished, thank God ! " * 

Meantime, his anxiety to get rid of the troublesome assem- 
bly had not induced Henry to neglect his interests. Before 
the delegates dispersed, he had taken pains to seek out and 
become reconciled with every one of those who, as he had 
learned by his secret agents, had spoken ill of him. 2 

It would be neither altogether fair to Henry of Navarre, nor 

in strict accordance with truth, to deny that some members of 

the Assembly of La Rochelle had given the king abundant 

reason for annoyance. Like many of their constit- 

The cordis- 1 -i -i t t • i • . 

toriai parry uents, the delegates belonging to the " consistonal 

6Uspicious. • II i • i t • r 

party occasionally erred in the direction or extreme 
suspicion respecting everything done at the Protestant court. 
Democratic tendencies asserted themselves. Little account was 
made of Navarre's services, and his mistakes were magnified. :t 
There had long been talk of electing John Casimir, the tried 
ally of the Huguenots, Protector in place of Henry ; now, 
some were in favor of the appointment of distinct protectors 
for each province. The management of the common funds 
was, as usual, a fruitful source of complaint. But, fortunately 

1 Henry of Navarre to the Countess of Grammont, December 22, 1588, 
Lettres missives, ii. 411. 

2 Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 134. 

3 If we might believe Anquez, Histoire des Assemblies Politiques, 39, some 
one had the audacity to say in Henry's very presence, at La Rochelle : "Here 
is the time to make slaves and serfs of kings." This usually accurate histo- 
rian, however, has here made a mistake. Charlotte Arbaleste, wife of Duplessis 
Mornay, to whose Memoires, 166, he refers, does not record the obnoxious re- 
mark. But the editor of the Memoires recalls, in a note, an incident doubt- 
less drawn from Cayet (Chronologie Novenaire, 68), who says: " Les beaux et 
gentils esprits qui estoient avec le roy de Navarre, et qui avoient des nouvelles 
de ce qui se passoit a Blois, disoient : ' Voicy le temps que Ton veult rendre 
les princes serfs et esclaves,' " which is an entirely different thing. 


for the king, he had confided the supreme administration to 
Duplessis Mornay, and that pure and scrupulous statesman and 
financier was able to satisfy the most captious, and to convince 
impartial men that they ought rather to be surprised at the 
great results that had been attained with such slender means, 
than to wonder at the magnitude of the sums expended. 1 

The Huguenot deputies had worked ably, as well as faithfully, 
during their four weeks' sojourn at La Hochelle. This the 
completeness of their organization amply testified. The assi- 
duity with which they subsequently applied themselves to the 
task of securing the strict enforcement of the plan adopted 
produced, on thinking men among their opponents, the impres- 
sion that the Protestants were prepared to wage eternal war, 
unless a peace on suitable terms were conceded to them. 2 

The convocation of the states general, after an interval of 

eleven years during which the popular voice had been silent, 

was one of the important points in the compact be- 

The second , jit t> i ti c 

states gen- tween the king and the League, lioth Henry of 
Valois and his namesake of Guise counted much 
upon the support of the people, the former hoping to recover 
the authority he had thrown away, the latter confident of his 
ability to consolidate, by means of the influence of his partis 
the structure of usurped power which he had long been rearing. 
Outwardly, indeed, the triumph of the aspiring duke ap- 
peared complete. He was already Grand Master of France : 
he now received the appointment of Lieutenant- 
lieutenant- General of the kingdom. 3 The patent that made 
him commander-in-chief of the armies in the king's 
absence, incidentally conferred such extensive powers upon him. 

1 See the summary of Duplessis Mornay's speech in Histoire de la vie de M- - 
sire Philippes de Mornay (Leyden, 1647), 120. 121. " Xe demandes poind," 
Duplessis had written to Buzanval, October 18, 1588. "comme plnsieurs. 
pourquoi ne faisons nous ceci ou cela ? mais admires plustost comment, de- 
puis quattre ans, nous pouvons faire ce que nous faisons, et pries Dieu qu'il 
assiste le prince, qui, certes, si son zele, sa diligence, son industrie estoient 
secondes de moyens, ne manqueroit de vertu pour plus grandes choses.'' Me- 
moires, iv. 272. ' So says Cayet, introduction, 08. 69. 

3 See the document, dated August 4, 1588, in Memoires de Xevers, i. 729, 
730, well characterized by the editor (in the table of contents as a •* Commi§- 


that it almost seemed as if his majesty had resigned into 
his hands the entire administration of the affairs of state. 
With perhaps as much sincerity as is ordinarily contained in 
such requests, the duke at first took care to beg that he might 
be excused from accepting this new honor and responsibility ; 
but, upon the king's insisting, his obedient subject yielded.' 
There is often significance in a comparison of dates. The very 
day Henry the Third signed the suicidal decree in favor of 
Guise, the " Invincible Armada " was off the Isle of Wight, 
fully equipped for the work of the reduction of heretical Eng- 
land, to accomplish which it had been despatched by Philip 
the Second with all imaginable papal blessings. 2 Fear of the 
Spaniard had undoubtedly had much to do with the cowardly 
surrender of the Yalois to the League. But now that he had 
made his choice, the king was resolved to act his part to per- 
fection. In fact, he outdid the expectations of his enemies, 
and excited suspicion by the very effusiveness of his 

Hypocrisy of r . J J 

Henry of demonstrations or amity. It was not enough to wel- 


come the envoys of the city of Paris, the Archbishop 
of Bourges, and other violent adherents of the League, as though 
they were personal friends ; he must greet them and the Guises 
as his liberators. " I was a captive in body and mind," said 
he, " so possessed by those about me as not to be able to call 
myself my own master or your king. ls T ow, thank God, I am 
free, and I recognize this fact to be owing to your goodness 
and the goodness of my cousins of Guise. Henceforth I mean 
to be controlled by their advice and that of the other princes, 
and to govern my kingdom with their counsel." 3 The farce 
was kept up when the king and the duke met at Chartres, for 
the first time after the day of the Barricades. His Very Chris- 
tian Majesty could not have been more affectionate to a dearly 
loved brother. It was noticeable, however, that neither of the 
actors was quite at his ease. Guise was " red as fire ; " Henry 

sion du Roy Henry III. en faveur du Due de Guise, par laquelle il luy octroye, 
non seulement la Lieutenance generale de ses arm es, mais la conduite de 

" ] De Thou, vii. 239, 240. 2 Motley, United Netherlands, ii. 481. 

3 Cavriana to Serguidi, July 26, 1588, NY j gociations avec la Toscane, iv. 798. 


of Valois was pale and livid when, after sundry embraces, he 
courteously invited his guest into his cabinet. 1 Even the wily 
Lorraine prince was perplexed what to make of the situation. 
Was the king insincere ? The dissimulation was greater than 
Frenchmen knew how to practise. Was his " conversion M 
genuine 1 The change of intention was so marvellous as to 
baffle belief. It was a veritable new creation. 2 Yet, had Guise 
been by nature the most unsuspicious of men, the warnings 
that reached him from every quarter must have occasioned him 
some misgivings. Bernardino de Mendoza, in particular, did 
not keep silence. That prudent ambassador, who had been 
remonstrating till he was weary at the inconsiderateness with 
which his French allies, far from concealing, even boasted to 
the whole world of the help derived from Philip, met Guise 
imprudence by night and with the utmost secrecy, and urged him 
fea? s U of e his d to be on his guard. But Guise was determined to 
friends. g Q to tne royal court, and to be on hand at the meet- 
ing of the states general. Fie would brave the danger, he said, 
rather than incur the charge of pusillanimity. Besides, he 
would have a following that would make him stronger than the 
king. 3 " The only real danger I shall have to run,'' said the 
duke, with almost prophetic apprehension of his coming fate, 
" may possibly be in the king's cabinet, into which a man is only 
admitted by himself, and where that prince has every facility 
for attacking and killing me by means of ten or twenty men 
that might be posted there for the purpose. But even this 
danger is little to be feared. It would scarcely be possible to 
make all the arrangements for the execution of such a project 
but something must transpire, and certainly if a conspiracy 
existed I should be informed of it by the personal friends I 
have about the king." The ambassador was not convinced, 
but, seeing Guise's determination, he forebore farther remon- 

1 Cavriana toSerguidi, August 8, 1588, Negociationes avec la Toscane iv. 80-4. 

2 "Bref, nous ne pouvons de ce qui se pense en credence que en juger ou 
une extreme disimulacion et plus grande que les espris francois ne la peuvent 
couvrir, ou bien une merveilleuse mutacion de volontez et come uu nouveau 
monde." Guise to Mendoza, August 6, 1588, De Croze, ii. 353, 354. 

3 Mendoza to Philip II., August 9, 1588, De Croze, ii. 355, 350. 


strance. The duke, he saw, derived his confidence mostly 
from the fact that he had in Yilleroy, the king's secretary, 
a friend who would reveal everything to him ; partly, also, 
from the devotion to his interests of the younger queen, who 
was an excellent Christian, living exemplarily, going to confes- 
sion and communing every Sunday, and possibly cherishing 
some resentment against her unfaithful husband. 1 Six weeks 
later, when the time for the opening of the states was approach- 
ing, Guise had lost none of his defiance and contempt of danger. 
" We are not lacking in warnings from all sides," he wrote to 
Mendoza, " that an attempt is intended upon my life. Against 
it I have, thank God, made such provision, as well by the accu- 
mulation of a goodly number of my friends, as by gaining over 
by presents and money a part of those whom it is the inten- 
tion to use in this execution, that, if the other side make a be- 
ginning, I shall make an end of it more roughly than I did at 
Paris." 2 

If, in the concessions made to Guise and to the League, the 
king had taken counsel of his fears, he was not without the 
The king fails hope of being able to regain his ascendency by means 
Majority of of the states general. For this purpose he endeav- 
the delegates. ore ^ j. Q gecure ^\ ie election of delegates of undoubted 
loyalty, and when the states met he spared none of the arts 
of the demagogue. Each member was accosted by the king's 
agents, and was courteously invited to call upon his majesty in 
the castle. 3 But if Henry of Yalois hoped thus to gain the 

1 Mendoza to Philip II., August 9, 1588, De Croze, ii. 356, 357. The repre- 
sentations of the Florentine agent at the court of France agree well with those 
of Mendoza ; but the former emphasizes the fear of a general massacre. 
" Quelli del duca di Guise, cioe della Lega," writes Cavriana, October 13, 
1588, " temono molto, che, essendo egli rinchiuso nel castello, il Re gli faccia 
una burla at tempo della notte ; e, avendolo levato dinnanzi, faccia un simil 
Vespro Siciliano sui suoi, che sono piti di trecento gentiluomini, e Madonna 
Santa Lega con questo artifizio se ne vada a spasso. " Negociations avec la 
Toscane, iv. 829. 

2 " Que si Ton comance (commence), j'acheverav plus rudement que je n'ay 
fait a Paris." Mucius (Guise) to Mendoza, September 21, 1588, De Croze, ii. 

3 Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 120. 

Vol. II.— 6 


support of a majority of the delegates, he was destined to be 
speedily undeceived. Guise had, as usual, anticipated him. 
Into every province, to every bailiwick and senecliaussee, the 
duke had sent men in whom he could repose implicit confi- 
dence. More than a month before the formal opening of the 
sessions, he already felt sure that he had a majority of the del- 
egates devoted to his cause. 1 The blandishments of the king 
had no effect in changing the determination of the mem- 
bers, whether representing church, noblesse, or third estate, to 
uphold the cause of the Holy League and make no peace with 

Meanwhile Henry of Valois had but one consolation : the 
Invincible Armada had been utterly ruined, and, with it, the 
The invincible adventurous hopes of the conquest of England, which 
Armada. Philip the Second had founded upon the expedition, 

disappeared forever. The Very Christian monarch took no 
pains to conceal the joy he felt at the discomfiture of his brother, 
the Catholic king. " You would not believe," wrote the Duke 
of Guise, at Blois, to Bernardino de Mendoza, at Paris, "you 
would not believe the artifices here resorted to for the purpose 
of hindering the affairs of the King of Spain, nor how open i> 
the joy expressed over the little effect produced by his naval 
expedition." 2 And Frenchmen at court and elsewhere told 
one another, with great glee, how that on Pa6quin's statue in 
Rome itself the following notice, purporting to come from the 
Vatican, had been found attached : 

" If any man or woman have tidings of the army from Spain. 
lost at sea within the past three weeks or thereabouts, and can 
give information as to what has become of it, let that person 
come and reveal the matter, applying at the palace of Saint 
Peter's, where the Holy Father will see that his wine be given 
to him." 3 

The solemn opening of the states general took place on the 

1 Mucius (Guise) to Mendoza, September 5, 1588. De Croze, ii. 360. 

2 Mucius (Guise) to Mendoza, September 21, 1588, De Croze, ii. 361. See, 
also, Motley, United Netherlands, ii. 530, 531. 

3 Lestoile, i. 263. 


sixteenth of October. Against a convocation which he scarce- 
ly knew whether to fear, as tending to restrict the absolute 
authority claimed by the crown of France, or to hail with 
delight, as likely to offer some escape from the intolerable en- 
croachments of the League, Henry of Yalois had made prepa- 
rations as best he might. For some time had he been importuned 
to bring new men to his council-board, and Guise had suggested 

as a candidate for the office of keeper of the seals the 
point's new Archbisliop of Lyons, his own most intimate adviser 

among churchmen. With a shrewdness which, in 
spite of his ordinary fatuity, his majesty was occasionally capa- 
ble of displaying, the king anticipated the complaints sure to 
greet his ears when the deputies should come together by sud- 
denly dismissing the responsible members of his council, good 
and bad— Chancellor Chiverny, brother-in-law of the historian 
De Thou, trusty Bellievre, treacherous Villeroy, Pinart, and all. 
For them he substituted other men, respecting whom little was 
known, and who certainly were not tools of his opponents. It 
would, at all events, be convenient to be able to cast all the sins 
of the past upon the shoulders of the disgraced ministers, and 
to present to the states a body of secretaries against whom no 
misdemeanors in office could be alleged. The court was startled 
at the unexpected blow ; the poor secretaries were in despair. 
The first intimation of it which Villeroy and his colleagues re- 
ceived was contained in a note addressed to each one in the 
king's own handwriting, after this model : 

" Villeroy, 1 am very well satisfied with your service ; do 
not, however, fail to go away to your house, where you will 
remain until I send for you. Inquire not into the cause of 
this my writing, but obey me. 1 ' l 

In vain did Bellievre weep, and Pinart bemoan his cruel lot 
in words much like the lament of Cardinal Wolsey. 2 The die 
was cast. The king had called, from the Parliament of Paris, 

1 Cavriana to Serguidi, September 13, 1588, Negociations avec la Toscane, 
iv. 822 ; Cayet, Chronologie novenaire, 67. 

- *' Se io avessi cosi bene servito Dio come ho il Re, mi troverei il piu fedele 
(felice ?) uomo del mondo." Cavriana, ubi supra. 


Montholon, a simple advocate, on whom he had never laid his 
eyes, but whose reputation for integrity and ability as a barrister 
had reached him, and had, on the sixth of September, com- 
mitted the seals to his keeping. Beaulieu-Ruze and Revol had 
succeeded to the places of Villeroy, Pinart, and Bruslart. 1 

Contemporary writers have described at great length the 

magnificence of the scene when Henry entered the grand hall of 

the castle of Blois in which were gathered the depu- 

Opcniiifir of 

the states ties of the three orders of the kingdom. One linn- 
dred and thirty-four ecclesiastics, including four arch- 
bishops and twenty-one bishops, stood before him on the right, 
clothed in rochet and surplice. They were the representative* 
of the powerful Roman Catholic Church. One hundred and 
eighty noblemen in velvet caps and cloaks were on his majesty's 
left hand ; while, posted between the other two orders and 
farther back, were the one hundred and ninety-one delegates of 
the tiers etat. The members of the judiciary wore long gowns 
and square caps. The provosts, and other royal officers were 
distinguishable by their short gowns and small caps ; and the 
rest were in merchant's dress. It was twelve years since an 
assemblage of equal dignity had convened in the same spacious 
room. 2 

Of all France, only the Huguenots, with their faithful ally 
Marshal Montmorency, were unrepresented in this august gath- 
ering. They had wasted few words upon the convocation of 
Blois. Too prudent to forfeit any advantages that might ac- 

1 Cayet and Cavriana, ubi supra; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 115, 116; De 
Thou, vii. 270-273 ; Mendoza to Philip II., October (September f) 04. 1588 . 
De Croze, ii. 370, 371. See, also, Picot, Histoire des Etats Geiuraux. iii. 1*1 
The letters patent appointing Francois de Montholon " garde des sceaux " were 
dated Blois, September G, 1588. See Isambert, Recueil des anciennes Lois 
francaises, xiv. 623. 

2 Matthieu, Histoire des derniers troubles de France, fols. 115-117. gives 
the most minute account of the arrangements, and states the order in which 
the deputies were called. See. also, Cayet, 69, 70, and Isambert, xiv. 623-688. 
The plan accompanying L. Yitet's Les Etats de Blois gives a good idea of the 
castle, of which the room still known as the " Grand'salle des Etats" is at the 
northeastern angle. The chambers occupied by the king were near the north- 
western corner, and communicated with the hall of the states general by the 
" Gallerie des Cerfs." 


crue to them from its sessions by condemning- it beforehand, 
they reserved to themselves the right of rejecting its conclu- 
sions as null and void because the Protestants had not been 
invited to take part in the deliberations. 1 

The king's address was a prolix but not unskilful production. 
The strong professions of singleness of purpose, of devotion to 
the interests of his subjects, of sorrow over the past misfortunes 
of the people, and of a firm determination to remedy prevailing- 
disorders, were those which might have been expected from a 
prince as hypocritical as he was selfish. Nor was it strange 
that such a son should lavish praise upon the mother, now tot- 
tering on the verge of the grave, from whom he had 

The king's re- . , . , , , ° i Pi i -it- t 

newed expres- inherited the character that has rendered mm odious 

eions of hos- _ __ , 'i»i- • , c 

tiiity to the for all time. More important tor our present purpose 
are those expressions which cannot be suspected of in- 
sincerity, wherein Henry gave utterance to his sentiments re- 
specting the toleration of the Huguenots and their religion. 

" Favor, I pray you, my good subjects," he said, " my upright 
intention, which tends only to cause the glory of God and of 
our holy Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion to shine forth 
more resplendent, to extirpate heresy from all the provinces of 
this kingdom, to re-establish good order, to relieve my poor 
people now T so greatly oppressed, and to raise up my own au- 
thority now T so unjustly abased." 

To the same topic he again adverted. " The evidence is 
sufficiently well known and can be given even by some of you 
who have honored yourselves in assisting me therein, both be- 
fore and since I became your king, as to the zeal and steadfast- 
ness with which I have ever proceeded to the extirpation of 
heresy and of the heretics. In this work I shall more than ever 
expose my life, even to a certain death, if that be necessary, for 
the defence and protection of our holy Catholic, Apostolic, and 
Roman faith. The proudest tomb in which I could be buried 
would be amid the ruins of heresy." 

1 See Duplessis Mornay's reasons for refusing to write against the states gen- 
eral, as reported in Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste sur la vie de Duplessis 
Mornay son mari (Paris, 1824), 166. 


" Not only," continued Henry, " are the battles which I 
have gained a sufficient proof, but that great army of the reit- 
ers, whose glory the Divine goodness chose me to humble, to 
the honor of God's holy name and of His Church. Of this 
thing the trophies and the spoils remain in the sight of all men. 
Will there be found, then, minds so incapable of cherishing the 
truth as to credit the statement that any one else is more in- 
flamed with the desire to compass the final extirpation of the 
heretics, whereas no more certain effects have resulted than 
those that have flowed from my efforts ? Even if the honor 
of God, which is dearer to me than my own life, were of less 
importance than it is in my esteem — whose is the patrimony 
w 7 hich the heretics seize and dissipate ? Whose revenues arc 
they exhausting ? Whose subjects do they alienate? Whose 
obedience do they despise ? Whose respect, authority, and 
dignity do they violate ? And should not I desire their ruin at 
least as much as any one else '( 

"The reuniting of all my Catholic subjects, by means of the 
holy Edict which I have made within a few months, has borne 
sufficient testimony to this, and has proved that I have nothing 
more at heart than to see God alone honored, revered, and 
served in my kingdom. And this I should have continued to 
show, as I shall always do, at the risk of my life, had it not been 
for this division among Catholics, which has been productive of 
incredible advantage to the party of the heretics, inasmuch as it 
has prevented me from marching into Poitou, where I believe 
that good fortune would not have forsaken me any more than 
in other places from which, thanks be to God, my state has 
drawn the desired and necessary benefit,'' 

Nor did Henry of Valois forget the popular apprehension of 

a possible Huguenot succession. " The just fear," said he, 

" which you may have of falling, after my death, 

a Huguenot under the rule of a heretical king, should God so 

successor. ._ . . 

determine as not to give me issue, is not more 
rooted in your hearts than in mine. And I protest before 
God, that I am not more desirous of my salvation than I am 
to remove the fear and the reality of this consummation. It 
is for this reason principally, and for the purpose of abolish- 


ing this damnable heresy, that I enacted my holy Edict of 
Union." ' 

In such unmistakable terms did the king, even now, and after 
a bitter experience of the conspiracy of the League, abetted by 
a goodly part of the Roman Catholic clergy, signify his relent- 
less hatred of the Reformed faith and its professors. Certainly 
the ringleader in the massacre of Saint Bartholomew's Day 
showed no signs of amiable weakness for the Protestants, vic- 
tims of a quarter of a century of persecution. The war for 
their extermination must be carried on to its bitter end. 

The royal speech, in addition to all its orthodox professions, 

contained a distinct invitation to the members of the states 

general to join with his majesty, on the succeeding Tuesday, in 

a solemn renewal of the pledge to maintain the intol- 

Renewal of . r i • i 

the oath to erant Edict. As if the process or heaping oath upon 

the Edict of . r . r i t 

union pro- oath could add to the inviolable character or the dis- 

graceful statute, of which it was proposed to make 
a fundamental law of the kingdom, this new device was re- 
sorted to for the purpose of making an impression upon the 
people. Wise men only doubted the more what the issue 
would be. 2 And this all the more, because it was no secret 
that only under dire compulsion had Henry consented to the 
step of repeating the oath he had taken at Rouen ; a step hu- 
miliating to his self-respect, and shameful in one pretending to 
be a free monarch. At first he had positively refused. He 
even answered the deputies that came to him " with words 
sufficiently sharp." 3 He yielded only on learning that the 
states general were determined to break up, rather than yield 
the point. 4 

! The king's speech is given in full by Matthieu, Histoire des derniers 
troubles, fols. 119-124 ; more correctly by the Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 524- 
535. Synopses are given by De Thou, Agrippa d'Aubigne, etc. 

2 " II y en eut qui trouvoient cette reiteration de mauvaise grace, commene 
se perdant la virginite de la foi qu'un coup seulement." Agrippa d'Aubigne^ 
iii. 123. 

3 " Paroles assez aygres." 

4 It is Guise that gives ^^s this information in two postscripts, under date of 
October 16th, to his letter of October 13, 1588, to Bernardino de Mendoza, 
De Croze, ii. 370, 371. He chuckles over his success in having so handled 


Henry having concluded, Montholon, Keeper of the Seals, 
who sat in front of his majesty, proceeded to deliver an oration 
intended to set forth more fully his master's purpose. It cer- 
speech of tainly could not be alleged that the new head of the 
ke^per^T' judiciary of France was deficient in classic or in sa- 
cred learning ; for in urging the utility of the insti- 
tution of the states general, the speaker took occasion to draw 
his illustrations indiscriminately from every quarter. Good 
King Asa, Saint Paul, Childebert, Clotaire the Second and 
Dagobert the First, Pepin, Charlemagne, and Saint Louis fig- 
ured side. by side with the Assyrian and Persian monarchs and 
Saint Augustine. 

Nor did the Archbishop of Bourges, the representative of 
the clergy, who spoke next, prove unequal to the demands of 
the occasion. He appealed to Henry of Yalois — pos 

Speech of the L r . * r 

Archbishop sessed, as was that prince, or the sagacity of L lysses 

of Bourges. ' l ' f J •> 

as well as or the grave eloquence of JNestor, and as- 
sisted by the prudence of that so virtuous and renowned prin- 
cess, his mother, who might well be styled Irene, lady of 
peace and tranquillity — to raise up France, now lying prostrate 
after twenty-eight years of disastrous war. Thus would he ac- 
quire all the glorious titles lavished by grateful antiquity upon 
Hercules, Theseus, and other heroes and demi-gods who freed 
the world from giants, monsters, and other enemies of God and 
of the human race. Having taken good care to master his sub- 
ject, the good prelate was not satisfied until he had expended 
upon his devoted hearers all his erudition, purchased, doubt- 
less, at the cost of many nights of assiduous research. Unfort- 
unate, indeed, was the eastern king, or the Roman emperor, 
whose name was not dragged into the discussion, to meet the 
ravenous appetite of the age for pedantic allusion. The arch- 
bishop extolled the wisdom displayed by the king in dissipating 
the army of German reiters and Swiss pikemen, so lately come 
into France. He expressed the confident hope that, under so 
good and great a king as Henry, the audacious heretics would 

(manie) the states, and adds: " Les estatz persistent en leur resolucion et plus 
tost de rompre que d'en rabatre." 


find themselves repressed, and brought under the yoke of God, 
the Catholic Church, and the king. Then would peace return 
and universal security. Then would every man sit under his 
own vine and fig-tree. Then would the demolished churches 
be rebuilt. Then would the cities be freed from the sound of 
arquebuse and drum ; then would the temple of war be closed. 

Was it intentional irony, or was the speaker carried away by 
his eloquence, when, in his peroration, he exclaimed, with much 
apparent unction : " O king, may you live forever ! May you 
live here below the years of JSestor — nay, the years of Argan- 
thonius of Gades, who lived ninescore years ! ■ Live, repre- 
sented by the succession of a long posterity ! Live here below 
by your name, and the glory of your virtue, which shall never 
die ! At the last, live above in the skies, not as an earthly 
king, but as a partaker and fellow-heir of the kingdom of 
God, whither He calls all those who have governed well His 
subjects here below ! " 

The addresses of the Baron of Sennecey and of the Prevot 
des Marchands of Paris, in behalf of the nobility and the peo- 
ple, echoed the sentiments expressed by the delegate 

Speeches of r \ r _ f ° 

Baron Senne- ot the clergy, and lauded the monarch s determma- 

cey and the °' J \ 

Prevot des tion to expel heresy, and to restore the supremacy of 


the Roman Catholic Church. Both orders pledged 
themselves to expose their lives to every peril, and to pour out 
the very last drop of blood to secure the success of this merito- 
rious undertaking. 

This much for Sunday's work. When, two days later, the 
states general assembled a second time, not only did Henry and 
The Edict of the three orders again solemnly swear to maintain 
S^m tfoc- tlie Edict of Union, 2 but his majesty caused a fresh 
toberi8,i5«8. r0 yal declaration, upon the same subject, to be read 
aloud by one of his secretaries, proclaiming the edict to be 
henceforth a fundamental and irrevocable law of the king- 

1 " Vivez Roy, " disoit-il, " vivez eternellement ! Vivez §a bas les ans de 
Nestor, voire ceux d'Arganthonius, Roy de Gadar, qui vescut neuf vingts 
ans ! " 

9 "Mettant par les ecclesiastiques, les mains a la poictrine, ettous les autres, 
levans les mains au ciel." Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 553. 


dom. 1 After which, the whole body of those present, including 
the king, the queens — his mother and wife — with princes, car- 
dinals, and other dignitaries, proceeded to the Church of the 
Holy Saviour, there to listen to the chanting of a solemn 
Te Deum. The people accompanied the king as he went with 
loud cries of " Vive le Roy ! " and displayed, we are told, ex- 
treme joy and gladness. 2 

There were those, however, to whom the royal speech at the 
opening of the states general was not a source of unmingled satis- 
Annoyance of f act i° n - A sentence or two had dropped from Hen- 
the Guises. r y? s iip S betraying the deep resentment he cherished 
against the authors of the present disturbed condition of the 
kingdom. He went out of his way to say that, had he not been 
anticipated and hindered by the inordinate ambition of some of 
his subjects, he felt sure that the new religion would by this 
time have been altogether exterminated from France. 3 lie cast 
a slur upon the intriguing authors of the Roman Catholic con- 
federacy at the very moment when he ostentatiously pardoned 
their offences. " Certain great personages of my kingdom," said 
he, " have entered into leagues and associations, but, evidencing 
my accustomed goodness, I tread under my feet, in this respect, 
all that is past." 4 The reference to Guise and his followers 
was unmistakable. The insult was insupportable. To be held 
up to the world's gaze as guilty of treason, even if the treason 
was condoned, and this, too, in the very hour of triumph, was 
more than the proud spirit of an aspirant to the throne could 
brook. The Archbishop of Lyons, pliant tool of the conspir- 
ators, was sent to remonstrate with the king, to threaten and 
bluster in the royal cabinet, until the weak Valois, reud< 

1 " Declaration du Roy sur son Edit de bunion de tous ses subjets Catbo- 
liques," Blois, October 18, 1588, in Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 545-571, and in 
Isambert, xiv. 629, 630. 

' 2 Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 554, 555. 

3 " Que s'il n'eust este prevenu et empeche par l'ambition demesuree de 
quelques siens subjects, il s'assuroit que la religion nouvelle eust este lors tout 
a fait exterminee de la France." See Pasquier, apud Lestoile, i. 204. 

4 "Aucuns grands de mon royaume out faict des ligues et associations: 
mais, tesmoignant ma bonte accoustumee, je mets sous le pied, pour ce regard, 
tout le passe." Cayet, Chrouologie Sovenaire, 72. 


still weaker by the persuasions of a mother who always sided 
with the enemy, consented to permit the obnoxious phrases to 
be erased from the report of his speech already printed and 
ready for publication. 1 Henry's reluctant acquiescence in so 
humiliating a change has been regarded as a strong proof that 
he had already formed a deliberate plan of the tragic events 
which occurred a little more than two months later. But the 
very boldness he displayed in affronting Guise at the opening 
of the states general, before an assembly in which the duke's 
sympathizers were known to be in the majority, would seem to 
indicate, on the contrary, that he had as yet adopted no definite 
scheme which might be thwarted by an untimely display of ill- 
will. 2 It seems more than probable that —despite his intense 
and inextinguishable hatred of Guise, despite, too, his settled 
and sullen determination to be avenged on him, for the gross 
insults he had received at his hands, when the best moment for 
striking a blow with safety to himself should have arrived — 
Henry had not yet mustered the courage, much less elaborated 
the details, necessary for the execution of his sanguinary proj- 
ects. The kings of the sixteenth century, no less than the 
ruling statesmen of our own times, frequently received credit 
for greater foresight and larger plans than they were actually 
entitled to. 3 

1 Lestoile and Cayet, ubi supra ; De Thou, vii. (book 92) 286, 287. Strange 
to say, the historian Davila (book 9, p. 359) maintains that the statement that 
Henry, yielding to the archbishop's importunity, omitted many things from 
his printed speech which he had uttered in the public meeting of the states, 
is altogether incorrect. He affirms that he was himself present, and so near to 
his majesty that he heard every word ; that he is certain that as much was 
printed as was spoken ; and that the king s u expressions, being quickened by 
the efficacy of his action and the tone of his voice, were much more sharp and 
moving than when they came forth in print, wanting that life and spirit with 
which they were delivered." ' 2 De Thou, vii. 322. 

3 Agrippa d Aubigne s remarks upon this point (iii. 114) are as the remarks 
of this forcible writer will so frequently be found, well worthy of quotation : 
'• Le Roi emploioit le temps, les ruses et les finances a endormir ses ennemis, 
soit (comme quelques uns ont estime) avec dessein arreste de les empoigner a. 
la pipee des Estats, soit (comme autres ont juge) que ce fust pour rouler au 
jour la journee, dessein sans dessein, et pensee plus coutumiere aux Rois que 
ne cuident ceux qui en vivent esloignez." 


Meantime, while there were some humiliating concession.- 
which Henry was willing to make — striking out the allusions 
The clergy to tne G mses from his printed speech, as wo have 
Navarre de™ J ust seen > aiic * submitting to the indignity of being re- 
pScrfsuc- <l u i re d to repeat his oath to observe the Edict of 
ceeding. Union, as though he might take it into his head to 
violate the oath to the same effect more privately taken three 
months before at Rouen — he was less inclined to yield to certain 
other demands. The clergy, early in November, took the initi- 
ative against the King of Navarre, whom it pronounced to be a 
relapsed heretic, and declared to have forfeited the succes.-ion to 
the throne. The other orders followed the lead of the clergy, 
and the Archbishop of Embrun, a noted Leaguer, was commis- 
sioned to carry the common decisions of the three estates to 
the king for approval. But for such action, even against a 
prince upon whom he wasted little love, Henry was by no means 
ready. He objected with good reason that the forms of ju- 
dicial procedure had not been observed ; nay, that it was out 
of the question to condemn as a heretic one who profe* 
himself ready to receive instruction. And so, although the 
churchmen continued to urge their point, the king pat off all 
decisive action in the matter. 1 

It must not be supposed that the course of Guise was alto- 
gether plain and easy. The States of Blois, devoted as they 
were to the duke, whom in most things they regarded a- their 
champion, had well-defined views of their own on some point.-, 
and neither he nor his brother, the cardinal, could move them. 
The tiers etat The tiers etat proposed that the king be requ< 
dfSnatio^of to diminish the hateful load of taxation that ground 
the taxes. t j ie m i seraD i e people to the earth, and called for the 
institution of a new tribunal which should compel the plethoric 
farmers of the public revenues to disgorge their ill-gotten 
wealth. The clergy and the nobles promptly supported the 
demand. In vain did Catharine de' Medici send for some of 
the most prominent deputies and remonstrate with them on 
their course. In vain did her son fume, and fret, and ply one 

1 De Thou, vii. 310, 311. 


and another of the refractory commoners with threats and with 
promises. Neither the king, nor Guise, who, fearful of the 
ulterior consequences, besought them to modify their project, 
nor the cardinal, who declared that they would ruin France, 
could move them. So, finally, his majesty, making a virtue 
of necessity, gracefully yielded the point. " I grant your re- 
quests," he suddenly exclaimed ; but when the surprise, and 
the rapturous applause, and the loud cries of " Long life to the 
king ! " had ceased, and quiet was restored, he took good care 
to add that he made the concession on condition that the states 
should provide for the crown's necessities and for the prosecu- 
tion of the war, according to their own promises. Meanwhile 
he was profuse in his expressions of the trust he reposed in the 
representatives of his people. He would have the money-chest 
containing the funds to carry on the war against the heretics 
to be made secure with two locks. The states should have the 
one key and he the other. lie swore that without their con- 
sent he would impose no burden upon his people. He told 
them, confidentially, that some members of his council objected 
to all this, and warned him that he was fashioning France after 
the republic of Venice, and hampering himself till he might 
become another doge, and his kingdom be transformed into a 
state half -democratic. " But," said he, very magnanimously, " I 
shall do it." His tone, however, changed very materially when 
the states failed to redeem their promise to supply his pressing- 
needs ; apparently unmoved by the pathetic picture he drew of 
his purveyor refusing to provide food for the royal table, and of 
the choristers of his chapel leaving his service for lack of wages. 1 
More embarrassing, however, than the indocilitv of Guise's 
own party at home was the clumsiness of his allies abroad. 
The Duke of The very moment when it was important for the pur- 
uL V Marquis es poses of the League that nothing should occur to dis- 
,eofSaiuzzo. tract t ] ie p p U ] ar attention, much less by any acci- 
dent to kindle into flame the long dormant fire of patriotism, 

1 See Picot, Histoire des Etats Generaux, iii. 117-133. This writer has 
ahly, though, perhaps, somewhat too strongly painted the picture of the cour- 
age of the states general and their manly independence even of the Duke of 


was chosen by the Duke of Savoy for an ill-timed invasion of 
the Marquisate of Saluzzo or Saluces. This district, which had 
for many years been in the possession of the French, had long 
been regarded with covetous eyes by Charles Emmanuel, be- 
cause of its situation on the Italian slope of the Maritime 
Alps and Monte Yiso, and because of its tempting proximity 
to Turin. When the duke suddenly entered it, the King of 
France was easily persuaded that the blow at the integrity of 
his realm had been struck through the instigation of Henry 
of Guise. His council, the loyal party throughout France, 
above all, the Huguenots, were confident that they saw in the 
act only another of the stealthy moves of the calculating 
League. The more Guise and his followers protested their 
innocence, the more fully was the world persuaded of their 
complicity. One thing was sure, and that was that for a few 
days it seemed probable that this act of aggression from with- 
out would lead to a restoration of peace within the kingdom. 
" It will be time enough to cross swords with the Huguenots 
when we shall have driven the insolent invader from our soil." 
Such was the cry of the best part of France, and, apparently, of 
no inconsiderable part of the deputies at Blois. Henry of Valois 
for a moment imagined that this would be the prevailing sen- 
timent of the states general. But no! The Guises resisted 
with all their might and prevailed. "We must first make pro- 
vision," said they, "for the heart of the kingdom, and remove 
the heresy which now afflicts it; afterward we shall easily 
drive off the foreigners who have made attempts upon the 
frontiers." And the duke himself called upon his majesty to 
secure to the pious French the fruits they had expected to 
gain from the oath of the holy Union, volunteering the promise 
that, when once the Huguenots should be extirpated, he would 
himself be the first to cross the Alps and compel the Savoyard 
to make restitution, should the king be pleased to honor him 
with a commission. 1 As the Huguenots had held out already 
almost a full generation, the contingency referred to did not 
appear a very near one to his royal auditor, nor was he likely 
to be profuse in his thanks. 

1 Cayet, Chronologie novenaire, 74. 


It is interesting, however, to note at this point that Henry of 
Valois, the patriots, and the Huguenots were mistaken ; and 
that the mendacious Duke of Guise spoke the truth. The 
correspondence he maintained with the Spanish ambassador — 
The Duke of a correspondence whose publication the duke would 
Guise not have been the very last to desire — demonstrates his 

privy to the •> 

enterprise. innocence of any understanding that Charles Emman- 
uel should invade Saluzzo at this juncture. Indeed, it reveals 
instead the fact that Guise was greatly annoyed at the unex- 
pected news which reached him, and sought in every practi- 
cable maimer to have the blunder retrieved. When the first 
tidings were received, he wrote, in great anxiety, to Philip's 
ambassador : " I fear that this accident of Carmagnola may 
defeat all my intentions and plans, and that the king may seize 
the opportunity to come to an agreement with the heretics, so as 
to make war with the Duke of Savoy. This would kindle a fire 
which it would not be easy to extinguish, and would undoubt- 
edly bring the ruin of Christendom and the overthrow of our 
religion. I beg you to consider this matter, and see whether 
there be any means of pacifying the Duke of Savoy, in order 
that we may follow out the course we are here pursuing." 1 
" Everything was going well," the duke despondingly exclaimed, 
a few days later. " We should have obtained a fresh confirma- 
tion of the edict, the oath of the king, open war with the here- 
tics to their utter destruction. Soon even the heretics of En^- 
land and Germany would have been ruined. To-day our plans 
are so frustrated that a great number of the deputies are in 
favor of a general peace with the Huguenots, for the purpose 
of uniting with them ; which thing will lead to the utter desola- 
tion of religion. All good people would be infinitely obliged 
to the Catholic King, if, before it be too late, he should bring 
about an accommodation." 2 

But if Henry of Yalois and his more faithful counsellors, as 
well as the greater number of historians who have since touched 

1 Mucius (Guise) to Mendoza, October 9, 1588, De Croze, ii. 366. 
8 Same to same, October 13, 1588 ; ibid., ii. 369, 370. It will be noticed that 
this was written before the king's opening speech. 


upon the matter, were mistaken in believing that the invasion 
of Saluzzo was an act of the Duke of Savoy, instigated by the 
Thekingre- Duke °f Guise, and intended to further the success of 
thJTnurde" tne ambitious designs of the latter in his struggle with 
of Guise. £} ie cr0W n, there can be no doubt about this — that 
no other belief was more potent in determining his majesty to 
hesitate no longer to rid himself of his turbulent and disloyal 
subject. It may well be (if we are to give so faithless and con- 
temptible a personage as Henry the Third credit for entertain- 
ing any conscientious scruples) that the king fancied himself 
fully released from every oath he had taken in favor of the duke, 
by Guise's continued violation of his own equally solemn en- 
gagements, and by the intrigues at home and abroad in which 
his hand was ever discovered or suspected. 1 For the sake of 
securing undisturbed tranquillity, a monarch, indolent beyond 
others, might have overlooked, even could he not forget, past 
insults ; but here was a subject who, so long as he was alive, 
would not allow his master to indulge the faintest hope of 
future quiet. There was no help for it. Such a restless con- 
spirator must be summarily put out of the way, the most sacred 
promises, made upon the holy sacrament, to the contrary not- 
withstanding. In the expressive words of a contemporary his- 
torian, whom no writer of his own day, and few writers of a 
later day, have excelled in nervous vigor of diction, the Duke of 
Guise, absolved of past offences, was condemned to death for 
the crimes he w r as about to commit. 3 

Of warnings the king had had no lack. Unless Charles of 
Mayenne be a much maligned man, Henry of Valois had re- 
™ „ „. -a ceived accusations of Guise's ambition even from 

Mayenne is 

s^d to have Guise's own brother. I would fain believe, witli the 

warned the 

king. generous historian to whom reference has just been 

made, that the story was afterward discovered to be an inven- 
tion ; 3 certain is it, however, that not only did writers of tried 

1 Cayet, Chronologie novenaire, 75. 

2 " Le due de Guise, absous des offenses passees, tut condaninc' a mart pour 
les crimes a venir." Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 150. 

3 "Quelques uns ont mis le due de Maienne an nombre des avertisseur?, 
mais apres une bonne perquisition on a trouve que non. M Ibid., iii. 149. 


impartiality, like De Thou, but sceptical diplomatists, like the 
envoys of Florence and of Philip the Second, give full credence 
to it. " Receiving advices," says Cavriana, " almost every day 
from the Duke of Mayenne, brother of the deceased, and this 
by the medium of Alphonso, colonel of the Corsicans, the king 
was compelled to secure himself and his states." ' According 
to Mendoza's statement in a despatch to his royal master at 
Madrid, Henry called upon the colonel in the presence of the 
council itself, saying : " Seigneur Alphonso, repeat to the coun- 
cil what the Duke of Mayenne instructed you to tell me." 
Whereupon Alphonso came forward and declared that the Duke 
of Mayenne had accused his brother of having resolved upon a 
resort to the last extremities against the king, with the inten- 
tion of taking his crown from him. 2 

Henry of Yalois himself positively asserted the fact that he 
received a direct warning from Mayenne, and that, too, in the 
very " Declaration " which he issued, two months later, enjoin- 
ing that the duke be proceeded against as a traitor, and pre- 
tended to give the substance, if not the very words, of the mes- 
sage that was sent to him. 3 

Guise, on his side, had had an abundance of prudent advice, 
which had shared the ordinary fate of such sensible counsel, 
conference ^ conference had even been held by the heads of the 
respecting League to decide whether it were not better for him 

Guise s move- o 

ments. to retire from Blois. But the Archbishop of Lyons 

had opposed this step, and had pointed out the disastrous re- 
sults that might follow. The duke would be accused of being 
a disturber of the public peace. Besides, he reminded his 

1 Cavriana to Serguidi, Blois, December 31, 1588 ; Negociations avec la 
Toscane, iv. 848. 

2 Mendoza to Philip II., Saint Die, December 27, 1588, De Croze, ii. 386. 
Compare De Thou, vii. 322-5 ; and Lestoile, i. 266, 267. 

3 "Peu de jours auparavant sa mort [sc. de Guise], icelui due de Mayenne, 
entr'autres choses nous manda par un chevalier d'honneur qu'il nous envoya 
expres, que ce nVtoit pas assez a son frere de porter des patenotres au col, mais 
qu'il falloit avoir une ame et une conscience ; que nous prissions bien garde 
a nous et que le terme etoit si brief, et que s'il ne se hatoit, il etoit 

bien a craindre qu'il narriveroit pas assez a temps." Declaration against the 
Dukes of Mayenne and Aumale, Blois, February, 1589, Isambert, xiv. 638. 
Vol. II. — 7 


hearers, the common saying is that he who gives up the game 
loses it. Thus fortified in his resolve, Guise declared that lie 
would rather die a hundred deaths than be the cause of dis- 
organizing such an assembly as was the gathering of the states 
general. Moreover, had he a hundred lives, he would freely 
sacrifice them to be the means of giving some rest to the poor 
people of France, so grievously afflicted. " And, in addition to 
this," said he, " I shall never believe that the king, who i 
good a prince, has any wish to execute so cowardly a design 
against those who have never offended him and have never 
been other than his faithful servants." We may smile at the 
simplicity or the effrontery with which the duke uttered such 
professions of consideration for a people whom he would not 
permit to enjoy the blessings of peace guaranteed to them by 
repeated edicts of pacification, and such assurances of loyalty 
to a sovereign whose ruin he had nearly compassed, expect- 
ing his words to be accepted as unalloyed truth. But we 
can scarcely be surprised that he was slow to believe that the 
king meditated so deadly a thrust at the "Holy League" in 
the person of its foremost leader. Had not his majesty sum- 
moned some of the principal deputies to him, on the ninth 
The king day of December, the morrow of the great feast of 
trperslver r e tne Conception of our Lady, and had he not, after 
in the union, confessing himself, and with his eyes fixed upon the 
consecrated wafer, uttered such words as these, the Duke and 
the Cardinal of Guise being present: "I have sent for yon 
all to come here in order to tell you and to swear on the Body 
of my God, which I am about to receive in your presence, that 
I again take an oath to support the holy Union, and again 
unite myself with you all in such wise that never will I depart 
therefrom until I shall have wholly extirpated heresy and the 
heretics from my kingdom. I call upon you all to help me in 
this matter as you have promised to do ; and, on my side. I 

1 MS. Relation of Jehan Patte, a burgess of Amiens, respecting the tat 

nation of the Duke and Cardinal of Guise, printed for the first time in the Bul- 
letin de la Societe de PHistoire de France (Documents historiques originaux . 
i. 79. See, also, the very similar views, expressed a month or two earlier, as 
reported by Cavriana, N< ; gociations avec la Toscane, iv. 830. 


protest on this holy sacrament to fulfil my engagements ; or, 
may this reception be to my damage, ruin, and entire confu- 
sion ! Were I to have a hundred daggers at my throat, never 
would I desist from this holy enterprise." ] 

The story of the king's preparations for the stealthy blow he 
was about to strike has been told often and well. It will be 
sufficient for my present purpose to touch lightly upon the in- 
cidents of the bloody deed which has given to the castle of 
Blois those gloomy associations that will outlast even the mas- 
sive walls of the building itself. 

It was very early on Friday, the twenty-third of December, 

that a meeting of the royal council was called. The king, so 

he said, wished to expedite business, that he might 

The assassi- ' . L ° 

nation of the go and spend Christmas, but two days distant, at 

Duke of Guise. :?„. ._ , „.. , „,. _ 1 . 

JNotre JJame de (Jlery. lhe morning of. the short- 
est day in the year was rendered more gloomy by a cold, win- 
try storm. The rain fell steadily. Never had such dreary 
weather been known. 2 Guise had been summoned from his 
room in the western wing of the castle, by message upon mes- 
sage from the king. After a hurried toilet and with customary 
prayers unsaid, he presented himself at the stairs leading up 
from the courtyard to the royal apartment. 3 An unwonted 

'Relation of Jehan Patte, ubi supra, i. 78. According to Lestoile, i. 266, 
it was on Sunday, the 4th of December, that the king swore perfect reconcili- 
ation and friendship with Guise. 

2 Pericaud, Guise's secretary, states in his deposition that but few of the 
duke's retainers were at his rooms that morning, k ' a cause du mauvais temps 
qu'il faisoit, comme a la verits c'estoit le plus obscur, tenebreux et pluvieux 
qui fut jamais." See " Information faicte par P. Michon et J. Courtin, con- 
seillers en la cour de Parlement, pour raison des massacres commis a Blois 
es personnes des due et cardinal de Guise " (an inquest made at the request of 
the Duchess of Guise), Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, xii. 194. 

3 Very obedient to the king's commands, "comme ung pauvre Isacq." On 
leaving his room he had exclaimed : " Je n'ay jamais accoustumez de sortir 
de ma chambre sans premierement avoir prye Dieu, dont j'ay ung extraime 
regret d'estre ainsy presse." Relation of Jehan Patte, ubi supra, i. 79. The 
northern part of the castle of Blois, where the king lodged, was built by his 
grandfather, Francis I. The eastern portion, including the portal, over which 
stands, or lately stood, an equestrian statue of Louis XII., was erected by 
this monarch, the father of Renee of France, Guise's grandmother. See the 
plan in Vitet, Les Etats de Blois (Paris, 1827). The coincidence is of interest. 


sight met his eyes ; the royal guard of archers lined the ascent ; 
for the king had been resolved that his prey should not this 
time escape him. But if the duke's suspicions were aroused by 
the signs that pointed to some plot against his person, they 
were quickly allayed by the assurance of the officer in command, 
that the guards had come to beg his majesty to pay them their 
wages, long overdue, and to tell him that otherwise they would 
be compelled to sell even their horses, to procure themselves 
the necessaries of life. So, after promising to support the 
archers' reasonable request with all his influence, Guise entered 
the council-chamber, where his brother the cardinal, the Arch- 
bishop of Lyons, and a few others of the king's advisers were 
already assembled. In the light of a great catastrophe, even 
the most insignificant of circumstances — circumstances that at 
other times would have been deemed unworthy of a second 
thought — assume a fantastic importance, and are told by the 
curious in all their details, as if having an essential bearing 
upon subsequent events. Long years after the time of the 
scenes here described, the partisans and the enemies of Guise 
alike, never tired of relating how the valiant duke was over- 
taken, as he stood near the fire, by a sudden feeling of faint- 
ness, and must needs send for some preserved fruit to stay his 
stomach ; or, how the eye so nearly lost by that honorable 
wound which had procured him the surname of " Le Balafiv," 
began to weep, and he was constrained to despatch a servant, 
whom the guards, according to the strict orders they had re- 
ceived, refused to let pass, for the handkerchief which in his 
haste he had forgotten to bring with him. Such incidents, 
however, whether simply fortuitous or bearing some resem- 
blance to the premonitions of danger affecting a bold nature 
until now but little influenced by warnings received from others, 
are of little moment. A false security still blinded Guise to 
the deadly net into whose meshes he had thrust himself. Had 
he not informed the Spanish ambassador with the utmost pos- 
itiveness that he knew the cowardly king to the very core i 
He must, therefore, persuade himself, as he had more than once 
maintained to others whose apprehensions he wished to allay, 
that the king would not dare to attack him. " II n'oserait ! " 


were the confident words he scribbled down as an answer to 
one of the last of the warnings mysteriously conveyed to him. 

Re vol, one of the secretaries of state, now appeared at the 
door of the council chamber, and announced to Guise that his 
majesty desired his presence. Instantly the duke arose, and, 
after courteously bidding his associates good-by, prepared to 
follow the messenger. lie had thrown his cloak about his left 
arm, and held gloves and comfit-box in his hand. At his knock 
the door of the royal bedchamber, through which he must pass, 
w r as opened, and his eyes rested, not upon the monarch, but 
upon six or eight of Henry of Yalois's famous band of the 
" Fortv-five " gentlemen. At the farther end of the room a 
heavy velvet curtain fell over the doorway leading to the king's 
new cabinet. The game had indeed fallen into the toils ; for, 
beyond that tapestry, in the " old " cabinet, overlooking the 
castle yard, lurked another dozen of the " Forty-five," ready to 
spring from their lair upon the unfortunate nobleman, should 
he by any chance penetrate so far. With them, or hard by, the 
king himself, anxiously awaiting the success of his cowardly 
plot ; in his oratory, just across a narrow entry, Henry's chap- 
lain, engaged in prayers which he had been charged to offer 
to heaven for the success of the king's project. The gentlemen 
posted in the bedchamber returned the duke's salute with a 
semblance of courtesy. There was something, however, in the 
expression of their faces, or in their bearing, as they moved 
to accompany him, that aroused his curiosity or his alarm ; for, 
having reached the portiere, and while in the act of raising it, 
he turned his head to take a second look at them. The in- 
stinctive act was understood as a preparation for retreat or for 
self-defence. In a moment the assassins were upon him. Mont- 
ferry, who was nearest, close to the fireplace, w T as the first to 
seize him, and plunged a poniard in his breast, crying : " Ha ! 
traitor, thou shalt die ! " Effranats entangled his legs ; Saint 
Malines dealt him a cruel thrust close to the throat ; Lognac 
struck him with his sword in the loins. Thus, overwhelmed by 
numbers and taken at unawares, impeded by his cloak, with the 
blood gushing from many a wound, the Duke of Guise exerted 
his prodigious strength to no purpose, but yet had vigor and 


resolution enough to drag himself and the assailants who had 
fastened upon him the full length of the room, where he fell at 
the very foot of the king's bed. It was but a moment before 
all was over. The few words that escaped him were remembered 
by the assassins: "Ha! my friends,'' several times repeated. 
" Mercy ! " " My God, have pity on me ! " 

There was no need of the assistance of the king's reserved 
force. Henry of Yalois himself, mustering up courage, now 
that his enemy was breathing his last, pushed aside the curtain 
and came upon the scene. His satisfaction was unconcealed. 
He ordered the body of Guise to be searched for further evi- 
dence of his treasonable designs. Besides a few gold crown.-, a 
bit of paper was brought to light with the words : " To carry 
on the war in France, seven hundred thousand livres are neces- 
sary every month." In his exultation over the dead, Henry u 
even said to have kicked the Duke of Guise in the face. So 
the Duke of Guise himself kicked the corpse of Admiral Gas- 
pard de Coligny, fifteen years before, in the court-yard of a 
house in the little Rue de Bethisy. 

It was not the Huguenots alone that saw marks of retribu- 
tive justice in the similarity between the death of the Duke of 
Guise and that of Admiral Coligny. " This tragedy," wrote 
the Florentine Cavriana, " is very similar to that of the death 
of the admiral on Saint Bartholomew's Day ; since he wl. 
eagerly sought the admiral's death, he who wished to see his 
enemy dead and thrown out the window, he who arranged 
that the body should remain for some days unburied, after hav- 
ing been dragged through the public streets, he who insulted 
it, and who contrived his enemy's death by lying in wait — this 
same man fell into the snare, in the self-same manner. It 
looks like a divine judgment against which there is neither 
wisdom nor counsel." ' 

In the council chamber the Cardinal of Guise heard the noise 
of the struggle going on in the adjoining room. " 11a ! " he 
exclaims, as he springs to his feet, " they are killing iny 

1 Cavriana to Serguidi, December 31, 1588, Negotiations avee la Toscane, 
iv. 849. 


brother." But Marshal d'Aumont, who is in the secret, is at 
the cardinal's side in an instant with drawn sword. " Stir not, 
sir," he cries, with an oath, " the king has to do with you." At 
this Guise's fellow-conspirators, at the council board resign them- 
selves to their fate; the Archbishop of Lyons, in abject fear, 
ejaculating, " Our lives are in the hands of God and of the 

The king's first intention had been merely to imprison the 
brother of his arch-enemy. Cardinal Guise's own words and 

actions, when hurried away to the lower room of 
cardinal the castle, for safe keeping made him change his 

purpose. Even there the defiant spirit of the Lor- 
raine prince could not consult prudence. " I hope that I may 
not die," he was reported to Henry as saying, " before I shall 
hold the head of that tyrant between my knees, and make him 
a crown with the point of a dagger." True or false, the words 
cost the prelate his life. The next day, the eve of the day 
commemorating Christ's birth, the cardinal was drawn from his 
cell, only to be speedily despatched. The bodies of the two 
brothers were then placed in the care of the grand provost of 
France, M. de Richelieu, father of the famous cardinal of that 
name. Whether they were burned by fire in a room of the 
castle, adjacent to the gate, as some said, or destroyed by quick- 
lime, as others reported, certain it is that no vestige of the 
body of either brother w^as spared to become an object of the 
idolatrous worship of the Parisian populace. The same Loire 
that had carried past Blois the bodies of the unfortunate vic- 
tims of the father's vengeance, after the failure of the Tu- 
mult of Amboise, now sluggishly bore along to the ocean the 
indistinguishable ashes of the sons. 1 

How will the murder of the Duke of Guise affect the policy 
of the King of France in respect to his long-persecuted subjects 
the Huguenots, is the inquiry which most nearly concerns us at 

1 Cavriana, however, gives a different account. " E pianto in segreto sola- 
mente, ma il corpo suo posto in un lenzuolo e seppellitto in luogo sacro senza 
alcun onore di mortorio, e in un villaggio separato dal mondo, insieme col car- 
dinale, suo fratello ; e cio si sa da pochissimi. " Negociations avec la Toscane, 
iv. 847. 


this juncture. Will the monarch who has just been despatching 

a troublesome nobleman, through whose machinations the " Holy 

Catholic League" has forced upon him a war of ex- 
Henry's pol- . , . 
icy toward the termination to be waged against the 1 rotestants, as- 

Huguenots. • -T i i 

sume a conciliatory attitude now that the pressure 
seems likely to be removed ? Happily we are not left to con- 
jecture the thoughts which were passing through the mind of 
Henry of Yalois. 

There was a woman in the same castle of Blois without 
whose participation little of importance had been done in 
France for the past thirty years, or thereabouts. Catharine 
de' Medici's apartments were on the story below those of the 
king, but corresponding, room for room, with his. While the 
Duke of Guise was falling under the daggers of assassins, the 
queen mother lay in the room precisely beneath, dangerously 
ill, and completely ignorant of her son's designs. Now, how- 
ever, that the deed was done, Henry felt himself impelled by 
an uncontrollable impulse to communicate the tidings of his 
triumph to a mother who had reigned so many years under the 
name of her weak sons. 

In the corner of the king's bedroom, not over two or three 
yards from where yet lay the inanimate form of the duke, a 
narrow, spiral staircase, hidden in the wall, led to the bedroom 
of Catharine de' Medici. Down this the king made his way. 
It lacked yet some time of sunrise. Of what happened, and 
particularly of what Henry said on this occasion, we are in- 
formed in a letter of Dr. Filippo Cavriana. Catharine's own 
physician (who was also the secret agent of the Grand Dnke of 
Florence), written within twenty-four hours of the events de- 
scribed, and from the castle of Blois itself. 

" Yesterday," says Cavriana, "which was the day before 
Christmas eve, and the twenty-third of December, about eight 
mu ,. , o'clock in the morning: (that is, according to the Ital- 

The king's o ^ ' 

account giv- i an fashion of counting, about half-past one o'clock'. 

en to Catha- ~ ' *■ 

rinede'Med- the Duke of Guise was stabbed to death, in the room 


of the king, by those gentlemen that are perpetually 
on guard about him (who from their number are called the 
Forty-five), assigned to him, three years ago, by Epernon, Joy- 


euse, and La Valette, when they were governing the world at 
their will. The manner of the death I shall relate to you as 
I heard it recounted by the king himself to the queen, his 
mother, I being present and very close to him when he narrated 
the incident. 

" So soon as the king saw the competitor and rival of his 
command to be dead, he descended to the room of the queen 
mother, and asked me particularly how she was. I replied, 
that she was doing well, and that she had taken a little medi- 
cine. He then approached her and said, with a countenance 
the most steady and assured in the world : 

" £ Good-morning, madam. I beg you to excuse me. Mon- 
sieur de Guise is dead, and will be talked of no more. I have 
had him killed, having anticipated him in what he designed to 
do to me. I could no longer tolerate his insolence, despite my 
resolution to endure it, that I might not imbrue my hands in 
his blood, and despite my forgetfulness of the insult received 
on the thirteenth of May (which was a Friday, the day on which 
he was compelled to flee from Paris). I had also cast into 
oblivion his frequent attempts to offend me in life, honor, 
and kingdom. Nevertheless, discovering, and proving it every 
hour, that he was anew sapping and mining ' — these were his 
very words — ' my authority, life, and state, I resolved upon this 
enterprise, which long perplexed my mind, as I disputed within 
myself whether I ought to execute it or not. However, seeing 
that my patience was resulting in damage and shame to myself, 
and that every day I was irritated and offended by new plots 
of his, at last God inspired and aided me, to whom I am now 
going to render thanks in church at the sacrifice of the mass. 
If any man henceforth speaks of belonging to the League, I will 
do to him as much as I have done to Monsieur de Guise. I 
mean to remove the burdens from my people ; I mean to hold 
the states ; but I mean also that they shall speak according to 
their station, and not after the fashion of kings, as they have 
done until now. To the family and property of the deceased 
I intend no injury whatever. I will favor, embrace, and aid 
his relatives, as the Dukes of Lorraine, Nemours, and Elbenf, 
and Madame de Nemours, whom I know to be faithful and 


affectionate toward me. But I mean to be the king and no 
longer a captive and slave, as I have been since the thirteenth 
of May until this hour. Now I begin afresh to be the king 
and the master. I have also placed guards over the Prince of 
Joinville, over Nemours, Elbeuf, and Madame de Nemours, not 
to do them harm, but because I wish to secure myself. I have 
done the same to the Cardinal of Guise and the Archbishop of 
Lyons, and, for the same reason, to my uncle, the Cardinal of 
Bourbon, who will receive no harm at my hands. I shall, how- 
TheHugue- ever > place him in a position where he will be well 
bepeSecuted °^> an( ^ wn ere I cannot be harmed by him. I shall 
prosecute with more boldness and ardor the war 
against the Huguenots, w r hom I intend by every means to ex- 
terminate from my kingdom.' ' 

"Having said this with the same steadiness with which 
he came and began, he retired in nowise disturbed in coun- 
tenance or in thought, a thing which to me, who was present, 
appeared marvellous. Afterward I began to consider with my- 
self that such is the sweetness of revenge that it gives new 
vigor and life to the mind, and clears up the countenance. This 
example will serve to deter others from making attempts upon 
their prince; for, as he then said very wisely, not a case has 
been known where a person has rebelled against his master and 
natural lord that he has not been punished sooner or later." 

What Catharine de' Medici, startled by the sudden intelli- 
gence, answered her son, Cavriana has not recorded ; but we 
know from other sources that she confined herself to the ex- 
pression of the hope that Henry had prepared himself against 
future contingencies. When he declared that he had dom 
she said she prayed that God would grant that the issue might 
prove advantageous. 3 

1 " Seguiro piu ardita e ardentamente la guerra contro gli ugonotti. i quail 
vuo' ad ogni modo estirpare dal mio regno/' 

'-' Cavriana to Serguidi, Blois, December 24, 15SS, Negociations avec La 
cane, iv. 842, 843. 

3 Jehan Patte will have it that the queen mother did more : " laquelle lay 
dist plusieurs injures, et s'il avoit bien donne hordes (ordre) a St.-? affaires, 
pour ce que M. de Guise avoit beaucoup daniis." This is highly improbable. 


That very morning, after despatching Richelieu to announce 
to the tiers-etat, assembled in the Hotel de Ville, that he de- 
sired them to continue their deliberations, despite a conspiracy 
which he said that he had discovered to stab him in his room, 
his majesty proceeded to hear mass, as much exhilarated over 
his exploit — so the spectators said — as if he had conquered the 
whole world. 1 

Thus perished, in the flower of his age, a prince of line pres- 
ence and of no mean abilities, before whose eyes the prospect 
of a brilliant future seemed to be spread. 2 The IIu- 
temfthe guenots, who had experienced the effects of his mili- 

Duke of Guise, i i -n t i . i i • 

tary prowess and skill, never doubted ins capacity, 
however much they might deplore the perversion of high natu- 
ral endowments to the support of an evil cause. Shrewd in 
counsel, prompt and vigorous in execution, he united great bold- 
ness in planning a campaign to signal personal courage, verging 
upon recklessness. His claim to have been the prime author 
of the repulse of the Army of the Reiters might be successfully 
disputed ; but no one could challenge his bravery or the brill- 
iancy of his charges at Vimory and at Auheau. His was just 
the character to conciliate favor and to fit him to be the idol of 

1 For the incidents of the death of the Duke of Guise and his brother, see 
De Thou, vii. 338-347 ; Memoires de la Ligue, iii. 155-162 ; Recueil des 
choses mamorables, 676; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 151,152; Etienne Pasquier's 
letter of December 27, 1588 (CEuvres, Edit. Feugere), ii. 316-321 ; Davila, 
370, 371 ; Lestoile, i. 267, 268 ; Jehan de la Fosse, 221 ; Mendoza to Philip 
II., Saint Die, December 27, 1588, De Croze, ii. 381-4; Cavriana, ubi supra, 
iv. 842-845 ; Relation de Jehan Patte, in the Bulletin de la Societe de l'His- 
toire de France, i. , doc. hist , 77-86 ; Le martyre des deux freres, a virulent 
pamphlet printed in 1589, reprinted in Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, 
xii. 57-107 ; Relation de la mort de Messieurs les Due et Cardinal de Guise 
(written probably by Miron), ibid., xii. 109-138 ; Information faicte par P. 
Michon et J. Courtin, conseillers en la cour de Parlement, etc., containing the 
depositions of Pericaud, of Olphan de Gast, one of the king's guards, of 
Etienne Dourgain, the king's chaplain, sent for by Henry III. to pray for his 
success, of Michel Marteau, prcvCt des marchands, of the Archbishop of 
Lyons, etc., ibid., xii. 189-221. 

2 According to Cavriana, Guise had all the elements of greatness : " bellezza, 
grandezza. forza, dolcezza, ardire, prudenza, pazienza, dissimulazione, segrezza ; 
ci mancava la fede, per la quale sarebbe poco meno che re." Negociations 
avec la Toscane, iv. 847. 


the Roman Catholic multitude in Paris and, indeed, throughout 
all France. In the race for popular applause he had, from the 
start, this signal advantage over every competitor, that he was 
the son and successor of a father whom the Church had exalted 
to the high dignity of a martyr for the faith. His private 
morals were not, indeed, above the low standard of the courtiers 
of his day. Of conjugal fidelity he knew nothing ; and it was 
characteristic that the last night of his life had been spent in 
the society of Madame de Sauve, 1 one of those ladies of i 
conscience and more than doubtful reputation for whose smiles 
not only Henry of Yalois and the late Duke of Anjou, but 
Henry of Navarre himself had been successful suitors. None 
the less was the claim to Catholic orthodoxy an inalienable 
possession, inherited along with many family traits. More 
polished in address than his father, he seemed to have derived 
from his uncle, the great cardinal, his full portion of the pre- 
late's untruthfulness, without one particle of the prelate's noto- 
rious cowardice. Men who knew the two brothers intimately. 
contrasted Henry of Guise and Charles of Mayenne to the dis- 
advantage of the former. Henry was rash, Charles was pru- 
dent. Henry's word could not be depended upon: Charles 
was straightforward and veracious. Henry spent lavishly, in- 
volving his private finances in hopeless indebted ne>s. and giving 
himself little concern so long as he could borrow enough to 
meet the most pressing claims; Charles managed his affairs 
with rigid economy. It remained to be seen whether the cooler 
head of the younger brother would prove more successful than 
the impulsive nature of the elder, in rearing the perilous edifice 
of the League. 

Of one thing there could be no doubt : the inordinate am- 
bition of Henry of Guise sealed his fate. Not content with 

1 " Une des plus belles dames de la cour."' Miron's relation, ubi supra, xii. 
199. The portrait of Madame de Sauve (Catharine de Beaunet is given in 
Niel, Personnages franqois du XVP, siecle, tome ii., from a contemporary 
crayon sketch. It affords little evidence of the strange fascination which this 
famous beauty is said to have possessed. After the death of M. de Sauve. his 
widow had married the Marquis de Xoirmoutier. October 18. 1584. She con- 
tinued, however, to be known by the name of her first husband. 


the office of lieutenant-general, he aspired to absolute military 

command. Should the king confer upon the duke the rank of 

high constable of France, in addition to the powers 

His ambition. it r 1 • , , 'it i i 

already wrung rrom his majesty s unwilling hands, 
the first step to the throne would be conceded to his enemy. 
Therefore it was that the assassination of Guise was ordered at 
the very moment when the draft of the patent for his promo- 
tion was under the hands of the duke's secretary. 1 The Duke 
of Guise had not displayed even ordinary caution. Only the 
day before his assassination, while walking with the king, after 
mass, in the garden of the castle, he indulged in loud com- 
plaints of his majesty's continued resentment, and declared his 
purpose to resign his office of lieutenant-general and retire to 
the province of which he was governor. Henry of Yalois un- 
derstood the meaning of the threat : Guise would give up the 
inferior dignity only that he might receive the higher office at 
the hands of the states general, according to their promise, and 
owe no obligation for it to the monarch. 2 In fact, what with 
the Duke of Guise's prospective military authority and the 
remodelled council which the states general urged the king to 

1 " A l'heure que M. de Guise y minute ses lettres de connestable, et la de- 
gradation du roy de Navarre, contre le jugement dung chacung, le roy le faict 
tuer en sa chambre." Memoires de Madame Duplessis Mornay, 165. Jean 
Pericaud, Guise's secretary, in his deposition, stated that the king having ar- 
rested him, after the duke's death, examined him narrowly as to his master's 
intentions, threatening "to make him wed a rope within a quarter of an 
hour," in case he did not tell the truth. One question was, whether Guise 
did not intend to carry his majesty off by force to Paris. A second was, 
whether Guise did not wish to be made constable, to seize the royal power and 
to reduce the king to a cipher (" un O en chiffre "). Of course, the secretary 
denied everything ; but Henry declared that Madame dAumale had warned 
him of Guise's intention to take him forcibly to Paris, more than a week be- 
fore. See Pericaud s testimony in the Information faicte par P. Michon et 
J. Courtin, etc., printed in Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, xiii. 176. 

2 According to the Relation, ascribed to Henry III.'s physician, Miron, 
the king when ill, a few days later, so explained his conversation with Guise 
to the Duchess of Angouleme, who had come to visit him. The writer was 
present. " ' II me vouloit rendre cette charge pour ce que les estats lui avoient 
promis de le faire connestable, et ne m'en vouloit pas avoir l'obligation. ' 
Voila les propres termes du Roy." Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, xii. 


institute, with powers absolute and without appeal, his maj- 
esty bade fair soon to find himself, so far as all influence 
in the state was concerned, as naked as he had come into the 
world. 1 

The assassination of the Duke of Guise and of the Cardinal 

his brother was followed, within a few days, by another death, 

which, at an earlier date, might have shaken France 

Illness and ' . ' ° 

death oe and made an important chancre in its tortunes, but 

Catharine de' ... ^ , . 

Medici— Jan- whicli, at this luncture, produced not the rainte.-t 

nary 5, 1589. . ' J If . 

ripple on the surface or the waters. Catharine de 
Medici, lying grievously ill in the castle, had been deeply 
affected by the intelligence of the duke's murder, but she ex- 
perienced a still greater shock when, on the succeeding N< 
Year's Day, by her son's request, she visited the captive Cardi- 
nal of Bourbon. The weather was unpropitious. The cold 
was intense and the winds were high. Her physicians warned 
her in vain of the risk she was running. But the exposure to 
which she was subjected, while carried from her bedchamber 
to the room wherein the prelate was confined, had less effect 
upon her enfeebled constitution than the harsh words with 
which he greeted her: "Madam, if you had not deceived as 
and brought us hither by fine words and under no security, 
the two brothers w r ould not be dead, and I should be a free 
man." a As it was, the humiliated queen mother returned to 
her bedchamber in deep dejection, and only to succumb speed 
ily to the disease which had already fastened upon her. She 
died on the fifth of January, 15S9. 3 Had she lived but three 
months and a few days more, she would have completed her 

1 "II quale protesto vuole inferire <U lassarlo infantum nudum. 11 So writes 
Orazio Rucellai, the great Florentine banker, to the Grand Duke's first secre- 
tary, Blois, December 19, 1588. Negociations avec la Toscane, iv. ^77. B78L 
See, also, Picot, Histoire des Etats Generaux, iii. 136. 

- Cavriana to Serguidi, Blois, January 5, 1589, Negociations avec la Toscane, 
iv. 853, 854. See Lestoile, i. 278. 

3 "Ieri, che fu il v di gennaio e la vigilia dei Re, a un' ora e mezzo dopo 
mezzodi, la Reina, gran madre dei re, passd a miglior vita di un male di cos- 
tato, il quale era passato a un altro, detto peripneumonia, che tanto import* 
quanto infiammazione dei polmoni." Cavriana to Serguidi, January 6, 1589, 
ibid., iv. 853. 


seventieth year. 1 It was over fifty -five years since she came, 
as the bride of Henry the Second, to the country with whose 
fortunes her connection was so disastrous. 

It would be a superfluous task here to discuss the character 

of the remarkable woman who now passed off the stage of 

action, her demise, to use the homely simile of a 

Tier chjir£ictcr 

contemporary, creating no greater sensation than 
would the death of a paltry goat. 2 The history of the age in 
which she lived has been read to little purpose if the personal 
lineaments of the widow of Henry the Second, the mother of 
Francis the Second, Charles the Ninth, Henry the Third, and 
Francis of Alencon and Anjou, and the chief author of the 
Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day, be not clearly impressed 
upon the mind — not the strongly marked and not ungracious 
features of her face, the prominent eyes, the long nose and sen- 
sual lips of her extant portraits — but the more clearly defined 
and unmistakable outlines of her mental and moral constitu- 
tion. Pope Clement had the credit with the world, at an early 
date, of having cleverly tricked Francis the First into consent- 
ing to mate his second son with an obscure Italian girl ; and 
this Italian girl had apparently deemed it her duty ever since 
to keep up the traditions of the Medici family by endeavoring 
to cheat every one with whom she came into contact. How it 
all ended, what had been gained by falsehood and double deal- 
ing and wars and massacres, was now seen in the disgust ex- 
pressed by Cardinal Bourbon, and still more manifestly in the 
contempt with which her death was summarily dismissed by 
those who deigned to record the event at all. 

The Florentines in Paris were, perhaps, the most sincere 
mourners, although we can hardly read their words without 

1 We have already seen that Catharine was horn at Florence, April 13, 1519. 
Her mother, Madeleine de la Tour d Auvergne, died of fever on the 25th of 
the same month, and her father, Lorenzo de' Medici, on the 4th of May fol- 
lowing, scarcely twenty-eight years old. 

5 "On ne parla non plus d'elle que d'une chevre morte." Recueil des 
choses mcmorables, 688. See De Thou, vii 366 ; Memoires de la Ligue, iii. 
184, 185 ; Lettres d' Etienne Pasquier, ii. 322, etc. ; Lestoile, i. 278 ; Jehan 
de la Fosse, 223 ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 153. 


suspicion. Was not the banker Rucellai indulging in a little 
quiet irony when he wrote down this pious prayer in her be- 
half ? " May it please His Divine Majesty to have given her a 
place in heaven, as her entire life and the departure which she 
has so holily made give us a firm hope of the same ! " Her 
worthy son-in-law, the King of Navarre, did not pretend to 
mourn. On Christmas Day he wrote to Segur : " I have seen 
letters brought by a courier in which the writer stated that he 
had left the queen mother, who was dying. I will speak as a 
Christian : God's will be done concerning her ! " 2 A week 
later, having heard of the circumstance that Henry the Third, 
after the assassination of the Lorraine princes, had sent to 
Lyons to arrest their brother, the Duke of Mayenne, the gay 
monarch wrote to another correspondent, in playful allusion to 
Catharine's illness and to the efforts of the pope and the League 
to deprive him of his ancestral throne : " I am only awaiting 
the good fortune of hearing that they have sent and strangled 
the late Queen of Navarre. This, with the death of her mother, 
would certainly make me sing the song of Simeon ! " 3 His New- 
Year's Day wishes were every way as humane as his Christmas 
resignation had been Christian. 

1 "Piaccia a Sua Divina Maesta avergli dato luogo in cielo, si come ne danno 
ferma speranza tutta la vita che ella ha trapassata, e la partita die cosi santa- 
mente ell' ha fatta! " Ncgociations avec la Toscane, iv. 877, 878. 

2 " Je parleray en chrestien : Dieu en fasse sa volonte." Navarre to Segur, 
St. Jean d'Angely, December 25, 1588, Lettres missives, ii. 412. 

3 "Je n' attends que l'heure (l'heur) de oui'r dire que Ton aura envoy,- 
estrangler la feu reyne de Navarre. Cela, avec la inort de sa mere, me fairoit 
bien chanter le cantique de Simeon." Navarre to the Countess of Grani- 
mont, January 1, 1589, ibid., ii. 418. 





Various were the emotions awakened in the breasts of the 
Huguenots by the intelligence that reached them from Blois. 
TheHugue- The very essence of the unjust persecution of which 
more freei^on they had so long been the victims seemed to have 
Henry a o? ° f Deen embodied in the elder of the two brothers who 
Guise, j ia( j j ugt met an unexpected death at the hands of an 

offended king. Not more truly had it been said of Francis of 
Guise, a quarter of a century before, that he was the chief 
enemy of the Protestant churches of the kingdom, than the 
same charge could now be brought against the son who had 
succeeded at once to his name and to his prejudices. How 
could the adherents of the Reformed faith be expected to feel 
no joy that Heaven had deigned to interfere in their behalf by 
the removal of the most determined foe of their doctrines, the 
sworn advocate of their extermination? Accordingly, the first 
impulse, at the court of Henry of Navarre and in the city of 
La Rochelle, was to indulge in public manifestations of joy and 
to offer thanksgiving to Almighty God. But wiser and more 
humane counsels prevailed. If the result was a pros- 

but abstain _ _ _ *■ ■' . x 

from unseemly pect ot rehei trom the violence or the most relentless 
of foes, the means by which that result had been 
reached deserved only the reprobation, as they awakened the 
disgust, of every honorable man. The Huguenots, indeed, 
breathed more freely, now that the Duke of Guise was no 
more ; but they could not forget that his death had been com- 
passed by treachery. As for the contemptible being that 
occupied the throne of France, although destitute of every 
heroic virtue which is commonly supposed to stamp the proper 
Vol. II. -8 


candidate for royalty, he had succeeded in proving to the entire 
world that he was not only a weakling and a coward too timid 
to resent insults in a manly fashion, but a perjurer whom not 
the most solemn oath taken on the very wafer in the holiest of 
sacraments could bind, a dastardly assassin without a spark of 
knightly honor in his breast. The picture of the effeminate 
voluptuary, given over in secret to loathsome vice, save when in 
well-simulated devotion he walked barefooted to some shrine to 
implore the long-denied boon of a son and heir, became more 
repulsive as the popular imagination essayed to add the traits 
of the poltroon, crouching in his innermost closet while the 
daggers of his guards were despatching in his bedchamber the 
nobleman w 7 ho had been enticed thither by protestations of af- 
fection and confidence. 

So the bonfires were not lighted in the streets of La Rochelle. 
and the cannon were not fired in token of joy, and the worthy 
burghers re-echoed the sentiments which Duplessis Mornay bo 
decidedly expressed in their Hotel de Ville : " Let it not be said 
that the adherents of the Reformed religion have by a solemn 
act approved a deed of too doubtful a character ! " None the 
less was there fervent gratitude to Heaven for the wonderful 
manner in which retribution had again been visited upon their 
adversaries. " Sire," wrote Duplessis Mornav to the 

Duplessis Mor- . ^ . , . _ * . 

nay's words on King or JNavarre, on the first receipt or the intelli- 
gence, "we have reason to praise God. His judg- 
ments are great, and the favor He has shown to us is not small. 
that you have been avenged of your enemies without defiling 
your hands with their blood." 2 Still more feelingly did the 
same great man write to the aged reformer of Geneva, Theo- 
dore Beza, in allusion both to the death of Guise and to Hu- 
guenot successes which will soon occupy our attention : " Sir. 
God smites with hard blows whenever it pleases Him. Of such 
a character is this stroke, so much the greater in itself as it was 

1 " QuMl ne fust point dit, que ceux de la religion approuvassent par un 
acte solemnel une action trop ambigue." Vie de Duplessis Mornay, 125. See. 
also, Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 154. 

2 Duplessis Mornay to the King of Navarre, December 26, 1588, Memoirea, 

iv. 277-279. 


neither hoped for nor dreaded ; and so much the greater for us, 
as neither our souls nor our hands were concerned in it. At 
the same time, He has also blessed our arms in the taking of 
Niort. So many benedictions make me afraid ! Let us pray 
that He will grant us the grace to render Him thanks for 
them ! " ' 

It must not, however, be imagined that the Huguenots suf- 
fered themselves to be deceived respecting the conflict in which 
The struggle they were engaged. So far from anticipating a 
not ended. speedy reconciliation between the Kings of France 
and of Navarre, and a cessation of the proscriptive measures 
against Protestantism, statesmen saw that Henry of Yalois 
would be compelled to vindicate his claims to orthodoxy by 
continuing the war against reputed heretics with undiminished, 
if not, indeed, with increased, activity. Only after months 
should have elapsed could it be hoped that necessity or expedi- 
ency might lead him to renounce a struggle forced upon him 
by the enemies of his crown, and might induce him to call in 
the assistance of Henry of Navarre and his followers, the most 
sincere and trustworthy of his subjects.' 2 

The city of ^siort, situated about midway between La Po- 
chelle and Poitiers, had long been a thorn in the side of the 
Huguenots. Strong in their fancied security, the inhabitants 
(most of them strong partisans of the League) had not con- 

3 *< Pryons-le qu'il nous donne la grace de lui en rendre graces." Letter of 
December 30, 1588, Memoires de Duplessis Mornay, iv. 284. In a letter 
dated a day earlier a sentence occurs which well merits to be reproduced 
here : "Or voyons nous que c'est de se tier en Dieu, qui scait abreger les 
desseings des hommes comme il lui plaist, et confondre les entreprises d'vmg 
siecle en une matinee." Letter to Pujolz, ibid., iv. 283. So, too, he wrote 
to La Noue, " Bras-de-fer : " "Certes, autrefois nous avons este accables 
des fleaux de Dieu ; maintenant nous le sommes de ses graces," Ibid., iv. 

' 2 Duplessis Mornay's views were thus expressed : " Que pour ceste muta- 
tion il [le roy de Navarre] n'avoit rien a changer en la conduite de ses affaires 
ny dedans ny dehors ; par ce que le roy se sentira a taut plus oblige a f aire le 
bon catholique, et n'ozera de plusieurs mois traicter de paix avec luy ; au 
contraire luy jettra tant plustost ses forces sur les braz — plus foibles, neant- 
moius, par ce que le Due de Mayenne, qui sur ceste douleur redoublera ses 
effortz, les pourra distraire." Vie de Duplessis Mornay, 124. 


tented themselves with laying in an immense store of provisions 

and a good quantity of munitions of war ; but, by their raids in 

every direction, they had made it impossible for any 

Capture of J . ' . J . _ l . , , . , 

Niort by the one suspected ol being a rrotestant to inhabit the 
open country. Their insolence had of late become bo 
great that, having killed a grand provost of the King of Xa- 
varre in a combat just outside of the walls, they had subse- 
quently amused themselves by dragging his dead body ignomin- 
iously through the streets of the city, and then hanging it upon 
the gallows. It was therefore with special satisfaction that the 
Huguenot prince permitted Duplessis Mornay to arrange a plan 
for the capture of the place. The execution was committed to 
other chiefs, and especially to Monsieur de Saint Gelais, who, 
as the patrimonial estates which gave him his territorial desig- 
nation were not far from the northern gate of Xiort, might be 
supposed to feel more than ordinary interest in the undertak- 
ing. Right well did he discharge himself of his trust, with 
the help of his brave associates. The moon was bright on the 
night chosen for the attack, but the Huguenots waited in the 
neighborhood until it had fully set. Then, leaving their horses 
in charge of grooms — for they had ridden hard to reach the 
rendezvous — they applied themselves to their task without de- 
lay. Two parties placed their ladders against the walls, and 
hastened to scale the enemy's defences. A third detachment af- 
fixed a petard to the gate and attempted to blow it in, but suc- 
ceeded only in making an opening large enough to admit them 
man by man. The noise of the explosion awoke the inhabitants 
from their sleep. But, although they made a stout resistance, 
the citizens were no match for the valor and skill of the Hugue- 
nots. In a few hours Niort was in the hands of the officers of the 
King of Navarre, and when that prince himself arrived on the 
scene, from St. Jean d'Angely, the castle promptly capitulated at 
his summons. To its governor — no other than Jean de Chourses, 
Sieur de Malicorne, the nobleman to whom Eenee de France 
had, at Montargis, twenty-five years before, returned a defiant 
answer well becoming a daughter of Louis the Twelfth ' — 

See the Rise of the Huguenots., ii. 111. 


were accorded favorable terms of surrender, and he was per- 
mitted to retire to a friendly refuge. Never, in fact, did the 
difference between the Huguenot mode of warfare and 
twcen Hugue- the conduct approved and practised by the League 

not warfare , , ,.. , . , . ° _ 

and that of show itself more distinctly than in the surprise of 
Niort. True, it cannot be asserted that the ideal excel- 
lence of discipline and of morality enjoined by the ordinances 
of Admiral Coligny, in the first civil war, had been maintained 
intact throughout an entire generation of almost continuous 
hostilities, and among men embittered by the recollection of 
relentless persecution and cowardly massacres. But there were 
some outrages they scarcely ever committed. They certainly 
plundered the unfortunate townsmen of Niort without stint, and 
probably with but little compunction. The capture of a city 
whose granaries contained provision enough to sustain an army 
of twenty thousand men for two years was not an every-day oc- 
currence, and the opportunity was well improved. Indeed, so 
determinedly did the Huguenots pillage as to prove that they 
were moved less by cupidity than by a thirst for revenge. 1 
But not a single man was murdered in cold blood ; and not a 
single one of the feebler sex, usually the victims of the lustful 
passions of a successful soldiery, suffered any dishonor. The 
Huguenots, at Niort as elsewhere, showed by their actions that 
they might wage a warfare whose code was stern and bloody 
enough, but that they were neither assassins nor enemies of the 
purity of woman. One wealthy citizen, indeed, was ordered to 
be hanged for past treasonable language respecting the King of 
Navarre and other members of the royal house of France ; and 
the dead bod} 7 of the author of the inhuman treatment vis- 
ited upon the grand provost of the King of Navarre, having 

1 u A la pointe du jour le soldat se mit a piller le ville ; et il le fit avec tant 
d'acharnement, quon s'appercevoit aisement qu'il etoit moins anime par 
l'avarice, que par la vengeance." De Thou, vii. 362. The writer of the nar- 
rative given in the Memoires de la Ligue (iii. 158) makes the Huguenot sol- 
diers more moderate than they might have been expected to be in their treat- 
ment of a city so conspicuously in the interest of their enemies. A tradesman 
having in his house merchandise to the value of ten or fifteen thousand livres 
did well to come off with a payment of two or three hundred crowns, a sum 
equal to thrice as many livres. 


been discovered, was itself suspended for a while to the very 
gibbet upon which the corpse of the provost had been exposed 
to the eyes of the populace. But of real atrocities there was 
no instance. None the less, however, was a pamphlet pub- 
Fictitious lislied in Paris purporting to give a full account of 
Huguenot tne execr able conduct of the Huguenots at the taking 
atrocities. f Ni or t. The Eoman Catholic historian De Thou, 
than whom we have no more trustworthy guide in the intri- 
cate maze of a period abounding in contradictory statements 
of facts, affirms, from personal investigation, that the whole 
story was a baseless fabrication of those who considered it a 
meritorious act to tell falsehoods to the disadvantage of her- 
etics. 1 

The arms of the Huguenots were not always so fortunate. 

La Ganache, a small but strongly fortified place, two or three 

. T leagues from the ocean, on the confines of Poitou and 

Failure at La o ' 

Ganache. Brittany, after long detaining the royal army under 
the command of the Duke of Nevers, finally surrendered. Yet 
even here the disastrous result was due less to military supe- 
riority than to an apparently fortuitous circumstance. The Hu- 
guenot garrison had entered into an engagement to evacuate 
the place unless reinforcements should arrive within a fixed 
number of days. But Henry of Navarre, hastening to their 
relief, had fallen dangerously ill by the way, and was compelled 
to give up the undertaking ; while La Bochefoucault, La Tru- 
mouille, and Chatillon, whom he sent on in his stead, were 
-misled by their guides, themselves either bribed to go astray 
or ignorant of the country. At all events, La Ganache had 

1 " Ceux qui ecrivoient alors a Paris, gens sans honneur et sans jugemeut, 
font une relation affreuse des meurtres et des exces cominis par les Protestans 
a la prise de cette place. Mais en passant par-la quelques mois apres, je re- 
connus par moi-meme la faussete de ces calomnies." De Thou, vii. 963. 
Upon this siege see, also, Recueil des choses uieniorables, 682, 683 ; Agrippa 
d'Aubigne, iii. 154-158; Cavriana's letters of December 31, 1588, and Janu- 
ary 16, 1589 ; Negociations avec la Toscane, iv. 852, 855 ; Memoires de la 
Ligue, iii. 162-172. The last-named authority, which also enters into details, 
gives us (p. 170) the title of the pamphlet printed at Paris ( ,l Les cruautez ex- 
ecrables commises par les Heretiques contre les Catholiques de la ville de Niorl 
en Poitou ") and the specific accusations it contained. 


already fallen when the Huguenot troops came in sight of the 
walls. 1 

The very circumstance that the historian is called upon to 
note the capture of so insignificant a place by the royal troops 
is a sufficient proof of the futility of the undertaking to conquer 
the Huguenots, and to carry into effect the stipulations of the 
Edict of Union. The court itself and foreign ambassadors 
recognized the fact that the loss, in the very heart of Poitou, of 
so strong and wealthy a city as Niort, together with the capitu- 
lation of the neighboring town of St. Maixent, which at once 
submitted to the Protestants of its own accord, was of far 
greater moment than the capture of a paltry stronghold like 
La Ganache amid the snow and rain of lower Poitou. 2 But if 
anything more was needed to show the hopeless character of 
the crusade for the extermination of Protestantism, to which 
Henry of Valois had pledged himself anew after the death of 
the Duke of Guise, it was found in the rapid dissipation of 
the army of the Duke of Severs. The news of the 
the army of bloody tragedy of Blois had reached the besiegers be- 
fore the advent of the new year, but it was not until 
after the surrender of La Ganache that it suddenly bore fruit. 
Men knew not what to think or to do. Not a nobleman but 
was restless and either asked leave to retire, or showed that he 
would retire without the consent of the commanding general. 
The partisans of the League were unwilling to battle for the 

1 Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 585-603 ; De Thou, vii. 315, 316, 363-365 ; Re- 
cueil des choses memorables, 681, 684. The siege of La Ganache seems, how- 
ever, to be entitled to some honorable distinction, because, first, of the hu- 
manity of the Huguenot garrison, on the 4th of January, in bringing into the 
walls and carefully nursing the wounded left by the royalists in the ditch 
after an unsuccessful assault ; secondly, because of the kindly return for this 
on the part of Nevers and his army at the time of the surrender ; and, thirdly, 
because of the good faith of the Huguenot governor of the place, Duplessis- 
Gecte, in carrying out in good faith his promise to surrender La Ganache, 
although he had heard the signal guns of the approaching relief under 
Chatillon and La Tremouille. The siege lasted from Friday, December 16, 
1588, to Saturday. January 14, 1589. 

2 The contrast is drawn by Cavriana, in his letter to Serguidi of Blois, Jan- 
uary 16, 1580. Ncgociations avec la Toscane, iv. 855. He styles (ibid. , iv. 852) 
Niort ''fortissima e richissima terra." 


assassin of their favorite chief, the idol of the ultra-Catholic 
faction. Those who wavered between the two parties were 
anxious to gain time for consideration. Trimmers desired to 
be where they might better observe the drift of affairs. The 
Duke of Severs himself was half-hearted and quite willing to 
lead back what troops could be held together to the city of Blois, 
whence he shortly retired to his own estates on the upper Loire. 
To tell the story in the fewest words, the formidable expedition 
of the king, which was to have reduced all Guyerme, disappeared 
from before men's eyes in a manner quite incomprehensible to 
all save those who understand the slight degree of cohesion that 
existed in the armies of the sixteenth century — an inherited 
weakness of the preceding period. Xoblemen following the 
king, much in the fashion of the feudatories of the middle ages, 
at their own charges for the support of themselves and their 
retainers, claimed, and certainly exercised, the privilege of 
coming and going according as the fancy seized them ; while 
the mercenary troops, when their wages were withheld or paid 
only at irregular intervals, were wont to take matters into their 
own hands, and abandon with little ceremony an unprofitable 
service. The most powerful army was capable of melting away 
like a mist. As for that of the Duke of Nevers, the grateful 
Huguenots saw, in the unexpected manner in which it vanished 
from sight, nothing less than a sign that the finger of God had 
touched the fabric, and it had instantly crumbled to pit 

Meanwhile the fortunes of France were trembling in the bal- 
ance. In the castle of an obscure village, Henry of Navarre, 
ill of pleurisy — as many thought, beyond hope of 

Henry of recoverv — seemed likely to pay with his life the peil- 
Navarre. " * 

alty of too reckless exposure in severe wintry weather 
while hastening to the relief of his fellow Protestants. 2 The 

1 " En un moment ceste grande et furieuse armee s'en alia en pieces, conime 
frappee du doigt de Dieu." Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 003. See Recueil des 
choses memorables, 684 ; De Thou, vii. 365. 

2 " Le roi de Navarre s'acheminant a, la Ganache, le 9 de ce niois, tomba 
malade d'une forte pleuresie au coste gauche, sans medecin. en ung village. 
Nous l'avons veu en danger extresme." Duplessis Mornay to Morlas. January 
21, 1589, Memoires, iv. 310. 


Huguenots of independent La Hochelle, not less than the 

Huguenots of more exposed districts, wept over the danger 

impending, and prayed earnestly to heaven that it might be 

averted. " The news was brought to La Rochelle," 

General anxi- 1 1 . . 

etyatLa wrote a contemporary and apparently a participant m 
the events he describes, " about nightfall on the thir- 
teenth of January, 1589, which might be the fourth da} T of the 
king's illness. At once the entire population was summoned, 
by the ringing of the bells, to assemble in the churches for 
prayer. It was about seven o'clock in the evening, an unusual 
hour for such convocations. . Yet, necessity requiring it, and 
everybody beino; informed of the cause, never was there seen 
in that city such a concourse of people in the churches. All 
the inhabitants without distinction, even to the children and 
the servants, left their houses to run thither. So great was the 
concourse that many, not being able to enter the churches, 
which were full to overflowing, returned home very sad, but, 
nevertheless, engaged in private prayers, answering to the pub- 
lic prayers that were at that time offered, with great mourning 
and many tears. Few persons were ignorant of the greatness 
of the affliction for all France in general, had God, at a season 
so full of trouble and confusion, removed this first prince of 
the blood, endowed with so many graces. The extraordinary 
prayers were continued for several days, until the certain news 
of his recovery was received." 1 

Nor, if we may credit the accounts that come to us, was 
the subject of so much solicitude himself insensible to the dan- 
ger of his situation or to the claims of piety. He 

Henry's re- ° it/ 

ugiouspro- professed patient submission to the will of God. He 

fessions. L L 

was ready to die, if that were the pleasure of the 
Almighty. His only regret was the need of his presence which 
the Church in France might experience, the loss of his fidelity 
which the entire kingdom would feel. In the midst of his 
sufferings, however, we are told that he never intermitted his 
care of the military concerns of the Huguenot cause. 

Such was the anxiety of the Huguenots respecting the life of 

1 Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 602. 


the prince upon whom they had conferred the proud title of 
Protector of their churches. Such were the religious sentiments 
which that prince himself professed to entertain when appre- 
hensive that he might be on his death-bed. That these senti- 
ments stand in marked contrast with the tenor of his life in 
times of health is only another strange phenomenon in a char- 
acter full of inconsistencies and contradictions. 1 

Meanwhile it is necessary once more to turn northward and 
inquire how affairs were proceeding at Blois and in the capital 
of the kingdom. 

Henry of Yalois had slain his arch-enemy, and had not spared 
the brother of his victim, whose every thought, word, and ac- 
Firetmeas- ti° n had been war and bloodshed. 2 Other heads of 
Khi S g°of the the League had been thrown into prison, and hourly 
France. expected a like fate. Up to this moment, the meas- 

ures taken had been prompt and decided. In continued prompt- 
ness and decision lay the sole chance of success. Sagacious men 
recognized the fact instantly. Dr. Cavriana, on the morrow 
of the duke's assassination and on the very day of the execu- 
tion of the cardinal, wrote home that the present occurrence 
would serve to deter others from conspiring against their 
princes ; for, as the king had sensibly remarked, no one had 
ever been known to rebel against his natural lord but he had 
sooner or later paid the penalty. Six or seven of the authors of 
the revolt, intimate associates of Guise, had been apprehended, 
and would shortly be executed. The king had despatched 
Alphonso Ornano, better known as the " Corsican Alphonso," 
to Lyons. His object was to make sure of the Duke of May- 
enne and persuade him to remain faithful in his allegiance, 
despite the death of his brothers. His majesty had taken other 
precautionary measures. But Henry could not stop. He must 

1 Memoires de la Ligue, ii. 601 ; Recueil des choses memorable?, C84 ; 
Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 160. Madame Duplessis Mornay, in her Mernoires, 
169, confirms the statements of others : "II n'avoit consolation en son mal 
que de faire chanter des psalmes, et parler de sainctz et bons propos. " 

2 " Telle fut la fin du cardinal, qui ne souffloit que la guerre, ne ronfloit que 
massacres, et ne haletoit que sang, lequel porte par terre par un juste jtige- 
ment de Dieu, se sentist ce jour veautre dans son propre sang." Lestoile, i. 269. 


either shed more blood, or, if he should pardon the rebels, he 
must be forever in fear of his life, through the lying in wait of 
the many great and brave members of the family of Guise. 
These would never forgive the monarch for what he had done, 
and certainly few men would be found to trust him after break- 
ing his word confirmed by so many oaths. 1 

A week had scarcely passed, however, before every man of 

ordinary sense began to exclaim at the sluggishness of the 

kino-. He apparently thought that everything was 

He soon re- _ & _ rr J to . J . S 

lapses into done at the very moment when an energetic person 
would have thought that nothing was as yet accom- 
plished, and would have set himself with relentless determina- 
tion about the task which he had commenced. " Xow at last I 
am king ! " he exclaimed after despatching Guise ; yet never 
had he been less a king than he was then and from that time 
forward. He failed to make instant provision for securing the 
cities of Paris and Orleans, both of which he might have gained 
in the first surprise and consternation resulting from the news 
of the duke's assassination. Above all, he neglected to recall 
Xevers and his army at once from Poitou — a step urged by 
Marshal d'Aumont and other patriotic advisers. He preferred 
to believe the treacherous Duke of Retz and the cardinal, his 
brother, who, it is true, conceded the advantage of having 
about the king's person the large accession of strength which 
Xevers would bring, but maintained that, should Henry recall 
that general, when warring against the heretics, for the pur- 
pose of fighting against Catholics, he would run the risk of 
being himself blamed as a heretic and, indeed, an infidel. In 
short, he was told that thus he would completely alienate the 
people, already incensed with him both on account of the in- 
tolerable burdens under which they groaned and by reason of 
the murder of Guise. 2 It was not the first time that courtiers 

1 " But in truth," added the Florentine, apologetically, "his majesty was 
in very great danger of being irretrievably ruined before the close of the 
states general" — " di lasciarvi la pelle." Letter of Cavriana, Blois, December 
24, 1588, Negociations avec la Toscane. iv. 844, 845. 

5 " Cosi," says Cavriana, " vinsero la risoluzione del Re." Letter of February 
9, 1589, Negociations avec la Toscane, iv. 859. See, too, De Thou, vii. 352, 353. 


preferred the public ruin to the sacrifice of their private inter- 
ests. So long as Nevers remained where he was, the large 
possessions of Retz and his brother in lower Poitou were com- 
paratively safe; should he withdraw, the Huguenots would in- 
fallibly capture them all. 1 

Nothing could surpass the fury of the clergy and of the peo- 
ple of Paris, when the tidings of the tragedy of Blois reached 
The fury of the banks of the Seine. The crime of laying violent 
the Parisians. j ian( j s U p 0n the cardinal, upon whose head the sacred 
oil had been poured, was, in one aspect of the case, more un- 
pardonable than the assassination of his brother, because it 
partook of the character of sacrilege. But, after all, it was the 
murder of their favorite hero, the duke, that stirred the Paris- 
ians to madness. The miserable prince who had perpetrated it, 
hitherto more a subject of contempt and loathing than of ha- 
tred, at once became in their eyes the incarnation of evil. There 
was not a secret story of orgies, celebrated in the Louvre or 
elsewhere by the monarch and his minions, that was not now 
dragged to the light and repeated with fresh additions and ex- 
aggerations. The charges of atheism and sorcery were boldly 
advanced against one whose devotion to the Roman Catholic 
Church had been his chief recommendation to the popular fa- 
vor. Wits discovered that they could, from the words " Henri 
de Valois," by a simple transposition of the letters, exactly make 
"Vilain Herodes;" and the anagram, connecting the martyrs 
of Blois with the innocent babes slaughtered at Bethlehem, 
mightily pleased the fancy of an age over-fond of such con- 
ceits. Even Catharine de 1 Medici came in for her share in the 
prevailing denunciation. Men would not believe her to have 
been free of complicity in the treachery of her son. The ser- 
vices she had rendered the Papal Church on Saint Bartholo- 
mew's Day were forgotten. So, when the news came that she 
was actually dead, while one fervid preacher exclaimed in Script- 

1 Cavriana, ubi supra. It must be noted that the Duchy of Retz comprised 
a considerable territory in Poitou (within the part of the modern Department 
of Loire Inferieure that lies south of the Loire). Its capital town was Macher 
coul, situated on the little river Falleron a short distance above its mouth. 


ural language, with reference to Guise : " O holy and glorious 
martyr of God, blessed is the womb that bare thee and the 
paps that thou hast sucked ! " another from a neighboring pul- 
pit gave expression to his own uncertainty regarding the claims 
of Pope Clement VII. 's niece to a share in the pious interces- 
sions of the faithful. He thought it doubtful, he said, whether 
or not they were called upon to pray for the repose of the sotil 
of a woman who had done much good, but accompanied by 
much ill, and probably more of the latter than of the former. 
On the whole, however, he advised his hearers to take the risk 
of giving her a Pater Foster and an Ave Maria, and letting her 
get what advantage from them she might. At any rate, there 
would not be much lost. 1 

I need not speak at length respecting the tumult and confu- 
sion that ensued. It seems well established that a little more 
vigor on the part of the government, and a little more 

The '"Seize" 

save Paris for concert among the best-disposed citizens, would have 
spared the capital its shameful fate of subjection, for 
the next four years and over, to the power of the League— a 
great part of the time to the irresponsible sway of a self-con- 
stituted body unknown to the law. As it was, the " Sixteen," 
promptly recovering from their momentary discouragement, 
seized upon the reins of government. The chief municipal 
officers — the prevot des marchands and the echevins — were 
prisoners at Blois. Had the parliament received the earliest 
intelligence, the judges would have taken possession of the city 
in the king's interest. But the " Sixteen" were so fortunate as 
to be first informed, and it was to them, said the League, that 
the salvation of Paris was due. 2 At their instigation, and con- 
trary to the will of the better class of the citizens, the Duke of 
Aumale, the only chief of note then within the walls of the 
capital, was elected governor. The most august judicial body 
in France was not safe from the insults of the new usurpers. 
The Parliament of Paris had early sent to petition the king for 

1 Lestoile, i. 279. 

2 Dialogue du Maheustre et du Manant (reprinted in the Ratisbon edition of 
the Satyre Menippee, Preuves, iii. 446-449). Memoires de la Ligue, v. 649, 


the release of the prevot des marchands and his companions 
in captivity, employing as envoy one of its most distinguished 
members, President Le Maistre. Instead of securing the boon 
sought for, Le Maistre brought back letters patent from his 
majesty, which were to be recorded and published by parlia- 
ment, extending pardon to his subjects — as though the people 
had offended him — and justifying the execution of the duke 
and cardinal, and the incarceration of the prevot des marchands 
and others. As it was believed that parliament was plotting 
the king's restoration to power in the capital, three of the " Six- 
teen " were now deputed to arrest ten or twelve of the most 
prominent of the members. But when their spokesman, the 
Dignified at- notorious Bussy, made his appearance in the " cham- 
parilameS 6 Dre ^ or ® e " where the suspected persons sat, a striking 
of Pans. scene took place. Parliament could still, on occasion, 
muster up its ancient dignity. No sooner had Bussy pronounced 
the name of the first president, as one of those whom he was 
commanded to apprehend, than the entire body of presidents 
and councillors rose as one man, and declared their purpose to 
accompany him and partake of his perils. In the streets of 
Paris, crossing the bridge from the "lie de la cite," threading 
the narrow lanes to the Grande Hue Saint Antoine, and marching 
down that great thoroughfare, might be seen a procession of 
grave and venerable judges, walking, two and two, amid the 
jeers of the populace, from the Palais de Justice to voluntary 
imprisonment in the dungeons of the Bastile. 1 With the in- 
sult offered to law in the persons of its most august representa- 
tives, Paris seemed also to have laid aside all respect fur de- 
cency and common morality. The priests and monks 
cessions" who had accompanied and emboldened Bossy in his 

through the . . - , . r , 

streets of invasion or parliament set on root other processions 
of a less decorous character. In connection with ex- 
traordinary public prayers offered in the churches to implore 
the favor of Heaven, a motley crowd of men and women, boys 
and girls, paraded the streets of Paris to worship at some fa- 

1 January 16, 1589. Dialogue du Maheustre et do Manant. abi supra, iii 
450, 451 ; Memoires de la Ligue, v. 651 ; Lestoile, i. 280. 


vored shrine. It was well that the time selected was the night, 
for the attire of the participants in the singular devotion was 
so scanty — a simple shirt — that the eye-witness and chronicler 
makes bold to style them nude. Misdirected zeal, pluming it- 
self with the name of religion, has at times assumed strange 
forms ; but no forms perhaps have been more strange or re- 
volting than the " naked processions " of Paris in the dead of 
the winter of the year of grace 1589. 1 

jSor were prayers and processions the only means employed 
to kindle zeal and compass desired ends. We have it upon the 
Resort to authority of one of the most trustworthy of conteni- 
magic. poraries, whose diary places us as nearly as possible 

in the position of spectators of the times in which he wrote, 
that strange arts were resorted to. Upon some, at least, of 
the altars of the city waxen images moulded to represent Henry 
of Yalois were placed at the beginning of the forty hours of 
special devotion. As each successive psalm was repeated the 
image was pricked with a sharp instrument. But when the 
fortieth psalm was reached a savage thrust in the region of 
the heart was inflicted, accompanied by words of magical im- 
port, intended to prefigure and render certain the death of the 
king. 2 

Meanwhile, both in Paris and elsewhere throughout the king- 
dom, the League took prompt measures for strengthening it- 
self. All persons suspected of being either II ugue- 
revoiutionary nots or Politiques were put under arrest. Charenton 
and Saint Cloud were garrisoned. The artillery was 
drawn out to reduce the castle of the Bois de Vincennes to obe- 
dience. The king's seals were solemnly broken, in token of 

1 It is but fair to note that a few curates are said to have condemned "ces 
processions nocturnes, pour ce que, pour en parler franchement, tout y estoit 
de quaresmeprenant, et que hommes et femmes, filles et garsons marchoient 
pesle mesle tout nuds, et engendroient des fruits autres que ceux pour la fin 
desquels elles avoient este institutes." Lestoile, i. 284. "En chemise et 
pieds nuds," was the customary fashion, despite the extreme cold. See Les- 
toile, i. 282, who enters into particulars respecting the demoralizing effect 

- So, too, in the processions, tapers properly compounded were successively 
put out, with magical formulas Lestoile, i. 282, 283. 


the renunciation of his authority, and new seals were engraved 
bearing simple reference to the kingdom of France. 1 Presently 
Bernardino de Mendoza, in order to be near the fire which he 
desired to kindle to a brighter flame, left Blois and the king's 
vicinity without condescending to ask for leave, and came to 
Paris. His house had ever been the hotbed of sedition ; but 
from this time forward the malevolence and hostility of the 
Spanish ambassador and of his master became open and undis- 
guised. 2 In the theologians of Paris he found ready and effi- 
cient allies. As early as on the seventh of Januarv, 

TheSorbonne . ^ . ^ . . . , , . . * 

declares the the borbonne met to give spiritual advice respecting 

people free 

fromitsoaths the present crisis. Two questions were submitted 
for the adjudication of the masters in theology gath- 
ered to the number of some threescore and ten : First, whether 
the people of the kingdom of France could be freed from their 
oath of loyalty to Henry the Third ; and, second, whether the 
same people could, with an assured conscience, take up arms and 
collect money and contributions for the defence of the Catholic, 
Apostolic, and Roman religion against the nefarious designs 
and attempts of that king, and against his violation of the pub- 
lic faith committed at Blois, to the detriment of the said relig- 
ion, of the Edict of Union, and of the natural liberty of the 
convocation of the three orders of the realm. To each of these 
questions the theological faculty, through its dean, gave an un- 
qualified answer in the affirmative. 3 

But even this gracious indorsement of the rebellion did not 
suffice the chiefs of the League. The authority of the same 
parliament which had recently made so striking a 
ofthepariia- display of magnanimity was essential to their suc- 
cess ; and, just a fortnight subsequent to the dramatic 
march to the Bastile, a document was procured from it fully 
committing the highest court of judicature in France to the 

1 Mendoza to Philip II., Blois, January 5, 1589, St. Victor. February 1, 
1589, etc., De Croze, ii- 390-398. 

2 De Thou. vii. (book 94) 373 : Davila (book 10), 390. 

3 Recueil des choses memorables, 686 ; De Thou, vii. 374 ; the articles them- 
selves in Memoires de la Ligue, iii. 192-194, and Ciniber et Danjou. Archives 
curie uses, xii. 349-353. 


new crusade against royalty. Henry the Third was not, it is 
true, mentioned by name, but the massacre of Blois was stig- 
matized as a breach of public faith and of the liberties of the 
Estates. The officers — from the presidents, princes, and peers 
of France down to the humblest notary connected with the 
body — swore by Almighty God, by His glorious Mother, by 
the angels, and by all the saints, male and female, of paradise, 
that they would live and die in the Roman Catholic religion, 
and that they would not spare even to the last drop of their 
blood in its defence. They furthermore engaged to stand by 
Paris and all the cities of the Union, and to bring to justice the 
authors of the murder of the Duke and the Cardinal of Guise. 
It was significant that the declaration expressly stated that no 
one was excepted from the provisions of the paper, whatever 
might be his dignity or quality. 1 

It may be charitably hoped that many of the intelligent, and 
upright members of parliament were purposely absent on the 
occasion. This we know to have been the case with some, in- 
cluding the virtuous De Thou. But unless the records of the 
court itself are falsified, not less than one hundred and twenty- 
six persons took part in the proceedings. Some signed the 
declaration with alacrity. One judge — and the same was true 
of more than one, if we take the words of the register literally 
— opened a vein of his arm, and wrote his name in his own 
blood. 2 

It did not take long for the anti-monarchical government to 
acquire form and consistency. The Duke of Mayenne, having 
escaped the clutches of those sent to arrest him, and having 
reached Paris in safety, assumed supreme command, with the 

1 " Extrait des registres du parlement," January 30, 1589, in Memoiresde la 
Ligue, iii. 189-191, and in Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, xii. 327- 

2 De Thou, vii. 378, gives a wretch by the name of Baston the doubtful 
honor of this act; but the parliament records imply that others shared it 
with him : "A este leue la presente Declaration en forme de serment, pour 
l'entretenement de Tunion qui fut hier arrestee, laquelle tous lesdits Seigneurs 
ont juree sur le tableau, et signee aucuns de leur sang." The number of per- 
sons present I have stated as it is given in Cimber et Danjou, " six-vingt six," 
but the Memoires de la Ligue make it three hundred and twenty-six. 

Vol. II.—. 


title of " Lieutenant- General of the Royal Estate." His hands 
were upheld by a Council of Forty, composed of three bishops, 
The Duke of five curates, seven gentlemen, and various presidents 
madeHeuten- an d councillors of parliament and burgesses of Paris, 1 
ant-generai. w h oge 0I1 iy re g re t seems to have been that the " Six- 
teen " declined to resign in their favor an authority grown 
doubly dear with the lapse of time. 2 

The royal cause, in truth, appeared to be well nigh hopeless. 
From all quarters came the news that cities, and even whole 
Accessions to districts, had gone over to the League. In the north, 
the League. guc ] 1 pi aces ag Amiens, Abbeville, and Senlis ; on 
the lower Seine, Rouen ; in the northeast, Laon ; in the central 
parts of France, Orleans, Melun, Sens, Mans, Chartres, and 
Bourges ; Rennes, with a great part of Brittany ; most of the 
province of Auvergne ; and toward the southeast the great 
city of Lyons — such were some of the conquests of the League. 3 

The incidents of the revolt at Toulouse were invested with an 
aspect of barbarity peculiarly in keeping with the reputation of 
the populace of that place as the most blood-thirsty in France. 
The two principal victims on the present occasion were the 
first president of parliament and the advocate-general of the 
Murder of same body. Never did popular fury show itself more 
president blind and unthinking. President Jean Estienne Du- 

Duranti at & 

Toulouse. ranti, a man reputed to be of sterling integrity of 
character and an impartial judge, was not only far removed 
from all suspicion of so-called heretical proclivities, but a de- 
termined enemy of Protestantism and a zealous Roman Cath- 
olic. A great admirer of the monastic orders, he had been in- 
strumental in founding at Toulouse not less than two religious 
confraternities; of which the one, bearing the name of the 
Confraternity of the Holy Ghost, had for its object the mar- 
riage of portionless girls, while the other, known as the Con- 
fraternity of Pity, devoted its energies to the relief of poor 
prisoners. It was he that had introduced the Jesuits into the 

1 Recueil des choses memorables, 687 ; De Thou, vii. 385. 

2 Journal d'un cure ligueur (Jehan de la Fosse). 223. 

3 The complete list included many other towns. See Davila, 380. 


city ; it was lie that had brought thither members of the Capu- 
chin Order from Italy, and that had even braved the opposition 
of many of his associates by carrying through the plan of in- 
stituting an association of the despised Penitents at Toulouse. 
Not only so, but he had warmly advocated the persecution of 
the Huguenots, and had shown little or no disgust at the intelli- 
gence of the bloody matins of Paris. Tie even took an active 
part in extending the massacre that began on St. Bartholomew's 
Day to the city of Toulouse. Soon after the tidings came of 
the murderous work done at the capital, the unfortunate Prot- 
estants of Toulouse w T ere thrown into the various convents and 
jails of the city. A few weeks later they were transferred to 
the conciergerie, or prison, attached to the parliament house. 
Some days passed, and the command was brought by Delpeuch 
and Madron, special messengers from Paris, that if the massa- 
cre had not yet been consummated, it should at once be put into 
execution. The judges of parliament were convened to delib- 
erate with the " capitouls " of the city respecting the course 
which was to be pursued. The majority of the members pres- 
ent drew back in horror from the proposal to perpetrate so foul 
a crime as that to which they were invited. Some were out- 
spoken in favor of clemency. Others, more timid, shrugged 
their shoulders and kept their eyes upon the ground. But 
Duranti knew no compunction. Rising, he exclaimed to his 
more tolerant colleagues : " You will do what you please, and 
say "what may seem good to you. As for myself, I am going to 
execute, in the king's name, what my charge and my duty re- 
quire of me. 1 ' Abruptly leaving the company, he at once issued 
the necessary orders. How well he was obeyed appeared on 
the morrow, when two unworthy scholars of the university, 
with a following of seven or eight wretches of the like sangui- 
nary type, forced their way into the conciergerie, armed with 
cutlasses and axes. Summoned one by one into their presence, 
the prisoners were successively butchered at the foot of the 
stairs, to the number of three hundred or more. 1 Surely Du- 

1 Memoires de Jacques Gaches sur les guerres de religion a Castres et dans 
le Languedoc, 1555-1610, 118-120. See Rise of the Huguenots, ii. 521, 522. 


ranti was a follower of Mother Holy Church whose past exploits 
might well have earned for him immunity from suspicion of 
disloyalty to her creed, or to its supporters. 

Yet the very moment that Duranti displayed his intention to 
frustrate, if possible, the attempts made to bring the city into 
revolt against the king's authority, from an idol of the people 
he became an object of hatred. The mob pursued him as he 
returned from the session of parliament, and riddled his carriage 
with thrusts of their swords. Thrown into prison by his ene- 
mies, he was afterward sought for in the Dominican convent 
which served as his place of imprisonment, and mercilessly 
slain. One of the very guards to whose keeping he had been 
trusted brought him out to the mob with only too much will- 
ingness, and turned him over to their hands with the impious 
exclamation, " Behold the man ! " Xot content with simply 
killing him, the mob dragged him ignominiously through the 
streets; then, finding no gallows at hand from which he might 
be hung, placed the corpse upon its feet and tied it to an iron 
gate immediately in front of a portrait of the king contemptu- 
ously dangling from a stake. " Thou hast so loved thy king ; 
now enjoy the sight of him at thine ease, and die with him n — 
were the words of the inscription, more honorable than its 
authors intended, with which the remains of the loyal first presi- 
dent were left for a whole day exposed to the gaze of men. 1 

Meantime, if the royal authority was maintained in some 

1 " Advertissement particulier et veritable de tout ce qui s'est passe en la 
ville de Tholose, depuis le massacre et assassinat comrois en la personn 
Princes Catholiques, touchant l'einprisonment et mort du premier President et 
Advocat du Roy d'icelle, etc.," Paris, 1589. Reprinted in Cimber et Danjou, 
Archives curieuses, xii. 283-302 ; De Thou, vii. ibook 95), 412-417 ; Agrippa 
d'Aubigne, iii. 166. The Duke of Xevers, in his Trait'' des causes • 
raisons de la prise des armes, first printed in 1590, eulogizes Duranti u 
plus homme de bien de justice qui iut de nostre age/' and says of him and bis 
fellow-victim : "lis avoient tous deux tout le temps de leur vie este fortcon- 
traires aux Huguenots, et courru de grandes fortunes pour telle occasion." 
Memoires de Nevers, ii. 50. See, also, Menioires de Jacques Gaches. 378 
who adds this touch to the barbarous treatment received by President Duranti's 
corpse: u Les charretiers, en passant, se destournoint pour luy alter bailler 
des coups de fouet avec injures et execrations, au grand estonnement des gens 
de bien." 


important cities, such, for example, as Bordeaux, it was owing 
to the fidelity and decision of men like Marshal Matignon, 
much rather than to any manly action on the part of Henry of 
Valois himself that was fitted to strengthen the hands of his 
adherents. On the contrary, his feebleness was such as to dis- 
gust even those who would have preferred, perhaps, to remain 
in his service. Marshal Retz, feigning illness, deserted the 
Desertion of court under pretext of going for the benefit of his 
z health to the Baths of Lucca. The Duke of Mer- 

and the Duke 
of Mercosur. 

cceur, the king's own brother-in-law — they had both 
married daughters of the same Count of Vaudemont-Lorraine 
— with signal ingratitude, allowed himself to be elected by an 
ecclesiastical assembly of Brittany, a province of which he was 
governor by royal appointment, to the novel office of Protector 
of the Roman Catholic Church. 1 

The first aim of Henry himself was to demonstrate that he 
was a good Catholic, and that no latent spark of pity or love 

for Protestantism lurked in his breast. On the last 

Henry re*en~ 

actstheEdict day of the year 1588, just a week after the execution 
of the Cardinal of Guise, he sent to all the parlia- 
ments of the kingdom a declaration forgiving all past contra- 
ventions of the Edict of Union of the preceding July, but re- 
affirming his own purpose to enforce that edict as a fundamental 
law of the realm. " We have from all time," said Henry, 
" and especially since our edict of the month of July last, en- 
deavored, by every means in our power, to unite all our good 
Catholic subjects in concord and good intelligence under our 
authority ; in order, from that union and the strength thence 
derived, to secure the fruit to which we have always aspired 
and tended, that is to say, to purge this kingdom of ours from 
heresies, and fully to re-establish our holy faith and 
many prison- the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion." ; The 
re-enactment of the Edict of Union at such a junc- 
ture was puerile enough, and a manifest sign of weakness ; but 
the release of many of the most important personages whom 

1 De Thou, vii. 383, 384; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 164. 

2 Declaration du Roy (December 31 , 1588), Mf moires de la Ligue, iii. 181-184. 


the king had arrested at the time of the assassination of Guise 
and his brother was equally childish, and still more likely 
to expose the King of France to contempt. True, the per- 
sons upon whom this unexpected mercy was lavished prom- 
ised to abstain from all acts of hostility toward his majesty ; 
but it will be readily understood how little value attached to 
such engagements, when there were ecclesiastics ready to pro- 
nounce them void because exacted under moral or physical 
compulsion. 1 

Amid the frenzy which had taken possession of men's mind.-. 
and which moved the preachers of the kingdom to the utter- 
ance of the most violent denunciations of the monarch and of 
cardinal mo- all that continued to adhere to him, one ecclesiastic of 
ate^romains 68 high rank preserved his self-possession and watched 
calmly the drift of the present movement. Cardi- 
nal Morosini, the papal legate, was at Blois when the duke 
and his brother were murdered. lie remained with the king 
even when the Spanish ambassador and others saw fit to vindi- 
cate their attachment to the Roman Catholic religion by with- 
drawing from Henry, as from an accursed and contaminate per- 
son. In the minds of many devotees his actions occasioned 
surprise and disgust. But the prelate was sagacious and pru- 
dent. Left to himself, the king might be compelled to make 
common cause with the Huguenots. The legate could hope at 
least to delay, and possibly to avert, so deplorable a result. 
Receiving the unexpected intelligence of the duke's murder. 
Morosini at once exerted himself to save the life of his brother, 
the cardinal. Foiled in this, he directed his energies to dis- 
suade his majesty from entering the sacred precincts of the 
Church, and succeeded in inducing him to send to Rome to ob- 
tain the papal absolution. Better than all, he prevented Henry 
of Yalois from coming to an agreement with the heretical King 
of Navarre, and from forming an alliance that might have 
widened until it should embrace not onlv these two rulers, but 

1 ll Car depuis que les predicateurs et les coufesseurs avoientgute l'esprit da 
peuple," remarks De Thou (vii. 353), "onne se faisoit plus an scrapale de 
violer, sous pretexts de religion, les sermens les plus soleniiiels." 


the Protestant princes of the German Empire and Queen Eliz- 
abeth of England. By Cardinal Morosini's self-control and 
patience the court of Rome gained a substantial advantage, 
even if its astute legate exposed himself to some obloquy. Of 
what consequence was it that he was accused of acting from 
fear where boldness was called for ? To have placed Henry of 
Yalois under an interdict would have driven to desperation a 
king already standing on the verge of a precipice. The drug 
too hastily administered as a medicine, to use the legate's own 
figure, would have been likely to prove a poison and carry off 
the patient. 1 

However, the king in his isolation could not hope to main- 
tain himself long without Protestant aid. The Sorbonne had 
declared his Roman Catholic subjects absolved of 

Henrv tardily . _ . _ _, _ , i r n r 

tnms' to Ger- their oaths or allegiance, and had given them lull iree- 

manv and . . , . , , , . 

Switzerland doui to levy war against him ; and these subjects, in- 
stigated by preachers who from the pulpit applied to 
him such names as tyrant, murderer, perjurer, and atheist, were 
forsaking him almost in a body. The Huguenots, on the con- 
trary, had shown no signs of disloyalty. Persecuted, the vic- 
tims of a barbarous legislation that denied them the common 
rights of citizens, compelled to stand armed to repel the assaults 
of the enemies of their lives and the plunderers of their posses- 
sions, they nevertheless waited only for the word that should 
summon them to the king's side. Still that word came not 
yet, though everything pointed to the near approach of the 
time when it must be spoken. Marshal Retz and other coun- 
sellors of doubtful loyalty had no great difficulty in persuading 
Henry to reject the propositions of M. de Sancy, who had acted 
as French ambassador to Switzerland, and who, early in the 
year, represented to his majesty the great advantage to be de- 
rived from an alliance such as could at this time be concluded 
w r ith the four great Protestant cantons of Berne, Zurich, Basle, 

1 " Ed io potrei rispondere che l'accelerare questa niedicina era un conver- 
tirla in veleno." The exculpatory letter of Giovanni Francesco Morosini, 
written to an unknown correspondent, is published in the Negociations avec 
la Toscane, iv. 868-871, from the Medicean Archives. It is here dated Janu- 
ary, 1589. See Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 154, for a different representation. 


and Schaffhausen. 1 But a few weeks later, when the prospect 
became more gloomy, when the king found himself compelled 
to issue fresh edicts against the insurgents, and to send out his 
summons to every part of the kingdom, commanding, in old 
feudal fashion, all his principal noblemen and gentlemen by 
name to come to him, before the twelfth of March, at the head 
of their men-at-arms 5 — Henry perceived his mistake, and de- 
spatched Sancy to Switzerland and Germany to carry out the 
plan he had previously rejected. The prodigal and impecuni- 
ous monarch could furnish the messenger with no money, and 
he wisely left all the details of the negotiation to the discretion 
of one whom experience in former enterprises abundantly quali- 
fied for the responsible trust. Sancy's success more than real- 
ized Henry's anticipations. 3 

Once more restored to health, Henry of Kavarre had again 
taken the field, and, full of his accustomed energy, was resolved 
Henry of Na- to show mankind that he had no intention of re- 
vancLTto the maining a passive spectator of the conflict waged by 
Loire " the League against the crown of France. With his 

recent gains of the cities of Niort and St. Maixent, he felt 
himself strong enough to make an advance toward the river 
Loire. At his approach, towns of great importance made haste 
to open their gates and offer their service — Loudun. L'Isle Bou- 
chard on the Vienne, Chatellerault farther up the same river, 
Mirebeau, and Yivonne above Poitiers on the Gain : ail gladly 
admitted the Huguenot prince, whose clemency was not 
signally displayed than was his courage and determination. 
For, at a time when the adherents of the League, pretending 

1 De Thou, vii. 352. 

2 See the documents, "Declaration du roy sur l'attentat. felonnie et re- 
bellion du Due de Mayenne, Due et chevalier d'Aumale et ceux qui lea se - 
teront," dated February, 1589, Meinoires de la Ligue. iii. 215-224; " Decla- 
tion du roy sur l'attentat, felonnie et rebellion des villes de Paris. Orleans. 
Amiens, et Abbeville, et autres leurs adherens," ibid., iii. 224-228 ; "Lettres 
patentes du roy sur le mandement de sa gendarmerie," dated February 6, 
1589, ibid., iii. 231, etc. The latter was addressed to one hundred and two 
noblemen whose names are given. 

3 De Thou, vii. 373. Sancy left Blois about the beginning of February, 
and reached Geneva on the fourteenth of the same month. 


to act in the name of religion, did not hesitate to indulge in 
indiscriminate murder and pillage and in the foulest of out- 
rages, Henry of Navarre not only threw a shield about the lives 
and honor of the conquered, but freely granted them the undis- 
turbed exercise of their religion. He simply stipulated that 
the Huguenot inhabitants who had been expelled, or deprived 
of their right to worship God according to the dictates of 
their conscience, should be granted the unimpeded enjoyment of 
their civil and religious privileges. Next, crossing the boun- 
dary line separating Poitou from Berry, the central province of 
France, by one of those sudden movements, executed with a 
small body of horse and foot, by means of which he was wont 
to gain most of his signal advantages, the King of Navarre 
made himself master of, Argenton, an important point in the 
midst of a hostile district. Thence returning to Chatellerault, 
he gave to the world another of those remarkable papers whose 
ability may be said to have accomplished for the cause of the 
valiant prince almost as much as the skill with which he wielded 
the sword. 

The appeal of Henry of Navarre on this occasion to the three 
orders of the kingdom was a plea for the immediate restora- 
tion of peace as the sole remedy for the maladies of 

Navarre's ap- _, tt i i -i i -i 

peal to the Jb ranee. He deplored the unhappy circumstance that 

three orders. . . r , rr /. . . 

he who was in reality the lover of his country's pros- 
perity should serve to the wicked as a pretext, should be re- 
garded by the ignorant as the cause, and should be, in his own 
eyes, the occasion of the woes at present afflicting his native 
land. He expressed his regret that it had not seemed good to 
the king, and to those whom he addressed, to invite him to the 
late assembly of Blois. His suggestions might have proved 
beneficial ; for there is no physician so good as the one that 
loves the patient. He called attention to the utter futility of 
all the efforts made for his overthow. 

"I should play the braggart soldier," said he, " were I to tell 
you, one by one, what armies have been sent against me these 
past four years. You would think that I wished to recount my 
deeds of prowess. That is not my intention. Would God 
that I had never been a captain, since my apprenticeship must 


be made at such an expense ! It would be a much shorter task 
to inquire of you what leaders France has still remaining, after 
those that have marched against me. In four years I have 
seen ten armies, teu royal lieutenants, having behind them the 
forces and the support of the foremost kingdom of Christen- 
dom. You think that this elates me \ Far from it. I will 
tell you, for the purpose of removing this impression, that of 
these ten armies I have, in point of fact, had to do with only 
one, which I fought and defeated. In that single one God was 
pleased specially to make use of me as an instrument for its ruin. 
But in the case of all the others I had scarcely any trouble ; they 
almost melted away before reaching me, and I heard of their 
dissipation as soon as I learned their approach. The angel of 
God, the rod of God, took away from them the means of injur- 
ing me. Not unto me belongs the glory of this; I hardly con- 
tributed anything of my own to the achievement of the result." 

And of the outcome, what could be said '. The lives of 
countless men had been lost, a mine of gold had been squan- 
dered, the people of France had been ruined ; but the objects 
of the war were no nearer their accomplishment. 

Turning next to the proposition, which had so generally been 
inserted in the petitions presented at Blois, that a kingdom 
should have but one religion, and that the foundation of a 
state is piety, which cannot exist everywhere if God be wor- 
shipped in diverse ways, Henry declared his adherence t<» 
that view. " It is so," said he ; " but to my great regret I see 
an abundance of people that bewail the fact, and only a few 
who are willing to apply the remedy. Now, I have always 
been open to conviction, and I am so still. Let the 
wmseif open methods that are customarv in such cases be taken. 

to conviction. „ , *L. . . 

It there are any extraordinary ones, let them be 
searched out. Both I myself and the members of the lie- 
formed religion will always submit to the decisions that may 
be adopted by a free council. That is the true path. It is the 
only one that has been followed in all time. But to believe 
that this can be obtained from us by blows of the sword 1 es- 
teem before God to be an impossibility. And, in point of fact. 
the event abundantly proves that it is so. . . . I have often 


been summoned to change religion ; but how ? With the dag- 
ger at my throat ! Had I no respect for my conscience, yet re- 
spect for my honor would have prevented me from changing. 
. . What would those persons say who are most devoted 
to the Catholic religion, if, after I had lived in one fashion up 
to thirty years of age, 1 thev were to see me suddenly changing 
my religion under hope of a kingdom? What would those say 
who have seen and experienced my courage, should I, through 
fear, shamefully abandon the manner in which I have served 
God from the day of my birth ? These are reasons that touch 
worldly honor. But, at bottom, what a conscience should I 
have ! To have been nurtured, instructed, and brought up in 
one profession of faith, and then, without hearing and without 
speaking, all of a sudden, to throw myself on the other side ! 
Xu, gentlemen, it will never be the King of Kavarre that 
will so act, were there thirty crowns to be gained. Far be it 
from him to conceive a desire for such a thing through hope of 
a single crown. Instruct me ; I am not opinionated. Take the 
road of instruction ; you will derive infinite profit therefrom. 
For if you show me another truth than that which I believe, I 
will yield to it. I will do more ; for I am persuaded that I 
shall leave no one of my party who will not submit to it with me." 

Xext Henry of Kavarre repelled the suspicion, which was 
possibly entertained by some, that, unless converted to Roman 
Catholicism, he might one day undertake to use constraint to- 
ward them. His course, particularly in respect to the cities that 
had recently submitted to him, proved the contrary. More- 
over, there was no probability that a handful of persons of his 
religion would be able to constrain an infinite number of Catho- 
lics to a thing to which that infinite number had not been able 
to constrain this handful. 

Again the Huguenot prince returned to his plea for peace, and 
entreated all three orders — and not least of these the clergy — to 
exert themselves for its recovery, and to esteem as enemies those, 
and only those, who should stand in the way of obtaining it. As 
for himself, gladly as he would welcome a summons from the 

More accurately speaking, Henry of Navarre was in his thirty-sixth year. 


Icing to come to his help, he declared his purpose from this time 
forth to apply himself to the restoration of the royal authority 
in all places where he might have the ability. " To this end," 
said he, " I take under my protection and safeguard all those, 
of whatsoever quality, religion, or condition they may 
patriots under be, whether of the nobles of the cities or of the peo- 

his protection. , i -n • • i • i • i i • 

pie, who shall unite with me m this good resolution. 
And although, more than anybody else, I regret to see the dif- 
ferences in religion, and, more than anybody else, I desire to 
heal them, yet clearly recognizing that it is from God alone and 
not from arms and violence that the cure must be expected, I 
protest before Him — and to this protestation I pledge my faith 
and honor, which, by His grace, I have until now kept untar- 
nished — that, just as I have been unable to suffer my own con- 
science to be constrained, so also I shall not suffer or ever per- 
mit the Catholics to be constrained in their conscience or in the 
free exercise of their religion. Furthermore, I declare that in 
the cities that shall unite with me in this determination, and 
shall place themselves under the obedience of my lord the king, 
and of myself, I shall permit no innovation either in government 
or in the church, unless in so far as may concern the liberty of 
each individual person. Again, I take both the persons and the 
property of the Catholics, and even of the ecclesiastics, under my 
protection and safeguard. For I have long since learned that 
the true and only means of uniting nations in the service of 
God, and of establishing piety in a state, is gentleness, peace, 
and good examples ; not war nor disorders, whence are born 
into the world all forms of vice and wickedness." 

So closed a memorable appeal to the candid judgment and 
patriotism of all true Frenchmen — an appeal which, although 
in its form and impressive eloquence betraying the masterly in- 
tellect and practised pen of Duplessis Mornay, yet unmistakably 
reflected the true sentiments of the Huguenot prince by whose 
inspiration he wrote. 1 Elevated in tone, full of considerations 

1 The text of the document, dated Chatellerault, March 4, 1589, is given in 
full in the Memoires de la Ligue, iii. 244-258, and in the Memoires de Dupless is 
Mornay, iv. 322-340. 


addressing themselves to the highest and noblest of human 
motives, and exhibiting a thorough grasp of the situation of the 
wretched country, so long a prey to civil dissension, the paper 
nevertheless held forth a hope, as its predecessors had done, of 
a possible reconciliation of religious parties by the conversion of 

Henry of Navarre to Roman Catholicism. Still the 
a conversion conversion to which it pointed was as yet sketched 

only as a change based upon rational instruction, in 
connection with or consequent upon a free council — a conver- 
sion so genuine as to involve the conversion of great numbers, 
if not of all the Huguenot followers of the prince. Into the 
secret thoughts and intentions of men it is not permitted us to 
look with clear vision. All that we can hope to attain in the 
search is a probable approximation to truth. Whether at this 
time Henry of Navarre contemplated a change of his religion, 
as a political necessity likely to confront him in the near future, 
may be doubted. Henry of Yalois still lived, with constitution 
enfeebled, it is true, by excesses, and little likely to leave be- 
hind him a son to inherit the crown, but yet a young man, 
scarcely twenty-seven months the senior of his cousin of Navarre, 
and lacking more than two years of being forty years of age. 
Under all the circumstances of the case, while the King of Na- 
varre may very well be suspected of foreseeing a contingency 
in which he might be desirous of finding some plausible pre- 
text for deserting the religion of the " handful " of the French 
people in favor of that of the " infinite number," we hesitate 
to admit that the idea of any such indecorous apostasy as that 
which was to take place four years later had as yet ever en- 
tered his brain, or, if it had been conceived, was not dismissed 
with some degree of honest scorn. 

" I cannot believe that the king will be willing to make use 
of us," wrote a Huguenot, about the middle of February ; " and 
The king and yet I see no other resource for him in his difficul- 
? a e r?e y ente?up- ties." * Yet it was only a month later when the 
on negotiations. game p erson t h at penned this sentence was in the 
city of Tours — whither Henry of Yalois had not only re- 

1 Duplessis Mornay to Morlas, February 11, 1589, Memoires, iv. 313. 


moved his own residence, but transferred the loyal portion of 
the Parliament of Paris 1 — engaged in active treaty for the 
purpose of effecting a reconciliation between the monarch and 
his loyal subjects the Huguenots. 2 He found the king, despite 
his passionate hatred of Protestantism and his ostentatious de- 
votion to the Eoman Catholic Church, not altogether averse 
to an arrangement which might tend to rescue him from his 
present straits. Even now, it is true, Henry of Valois could 
not conceal the reluctance with which, under constraint, he de- 
parted from the traditions of the past. We have it upon the 
word of the historian De Thou that the king still hoped against 
hope that some tardy accommodation with the League might 
come in to free him from the distasteful necessity of making 
common cause with the Huguenots. Even after he had sol- 
emnly appended his signature to the treaty, of which I am 
about to speak, with the King of Xavarre, in the presence of 
that monarch's envoy, Duplessis Mornay, the Very Christian 
King had the effrontery to ask for a delay of a fortnight in 
transmitting the document, hoping that within that time he 
might secure from Ma} T enne either peace or a suspension of 
arms ; in which case he purposed to push hostilities against the 
Protestants more vigorously than ever. 3 

The new compact established a truce between the Kings of 

France and of Navarre for the term of a year dating from the 

third day of April, and included in its provisions not 

The truce be- __i 

tweenthetwo only all the Huguenots and other loyal subjects of 
the crown, but, as a particular mark of favor to the 
pope, the inhabitants of Avignon and the Comtat Tenaissin. 
The King of Navarre engaged for himself and his followers to 
carry on no military enterprise without the command or consent 
of the King of France, and especially to make no changes, so 
far as the Eoman Catholic religion and its adherents were con- 

1 "Edit du Roy, par lequel sa Cour de Parlement, qui souloit seoir a Paris, 
est transferee a Tours, et aussi sa Chambre de Comptes," Blois, February, 
1589, in Memoires de la Ligue, iii. 239-241. 

2 Duplessis Mornay to Henry of Navarre, Blois, March, 1589, Memoires, 
iv. 343-346. 

3 De Thou, vii. (book 95) 430, 431. 


cerned, in any cities that might fall into his hands during the 
course of the war. The King of France in turn pledged himself 
that the Protestants should have undisturbed enjoyment of all 
their possessions. 1 Such were the points given to the world in 
the formal publications of the two monarchs. The agreement 
as signed, however, stipulated further that the King of Xavarre 
should receive a city and bridge on the river Loire, and that 
the Huguenot prince should cross that stream and proceed 
against the Duke of Mayenne. While all cities that he might 
take were to be placed at the disposal of the King of France, 
it was provided that Henry of Navarre should be permitted to 
retain one place in every bailiwick and senechaussee as security 
for the expenses incurred by him. It was furthermore agreed, 
and noted as a distinct appendix to the articles of the truce, 
that Protestants were no longer to be proceeded against, but 
were to enjoy the free exercise of their religion in all cities 
through which Navarre and his army might pass. Exception 
for the term of four months was made of the city situated on 
the Loire which was to be confided to his safe-keeping. 2 This 
cit}~, according to the agreement, should have been the insignif- 
icant Ponts-de-Ce, near Angers ; but when the governor of the 
paltry castle flatly refused to make the surrender without re- 
ceiving in lien an extravagant recompense, the much more con- 
venient city of Saumur was substituted. It was characteristic 
of the inflexible rectitude of Duplessis Mornay, in whose care, 
as governor, the city was now placed, that for the stipulated 
term he refused to permit his own fellow- believers to celebrate 
any other than private worship within town or castle. 3 

1 " Declaration du Roy sur la trefve accordee par sa Majeste au Roy de Na- 
varre, contenant les causes et preignantes raisons, qui l'ont meu a ce faire," 
Blois, April 26, 1589, in Memoires de la Ligue, iii. 315-321. Also, the simi- 
lar declaration of Henry of Navarre, Saumur, April 24, 1589, ibid., iii. 321- 
324. Both documents are also inserted entire in Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 207- 
212, 212-214. 

2 " Articles du traicte de la trefve negotiee par M. Duplessis, de la part du 
Roy de Navarre, avec le Roy Henry III." Signed by Henry and his secretary 
Revol Tours, April 3, 1589. Memoires de Duplessis Mornay, iv. 351-355. 
Vie de Duplessis Mornay, 129, 130. 

3 Vie de Duplessis Mornay, 131. Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 167. 


So it was that tlie Huguenots crossed the Loire ! The day 
was a memorable one. Four years before, the king and the 

majority of the people of France had banded together 
nots cross the for the destruction of Protestantism. Proscribed by 

the law, the Huguenots found no refuge save on the 
shores of the ocean about La Bochelle, or beyond the Garonne 
and in the province of Languedoc. The few adherents of the 
.Reformed doctrines in Paris and scattered throughout Central 
and Northern France lived only by sufferance, and mostly es- 
caped notice by reason of their prudence and the comparative 
insignificance of their numbers. It was long since Protestant 
preaching had been heard by devout multitudes on the north- 
ern side of the Loire, and he would have been esteemed by the 
Huguenots of Guyenne a rash prophet who should have fore- 
told to them the near approach of the day when such a privi- 
lege would be enjoyed. An enthusiastic minister — the same 

Gabriel d' Amours who stood by Navarre and ini- 
d'Amours' plored the aid of Heaven on the battle-field uf Cou- 

tras ' — had, indeed, encouraged his master with the 
prediction, in the very darkest hour of the war, when tidings 
came from Blois of the decision of the states general declaring 
the Huguenot prince an apostate incapable of succeeding to the 
throne of France. Addressing the despondent king, in a public 
discourse delivered in the market-house of Saint Jean d'Angely, 
he had exclaimed : " Sire, men will not be able to strip you of 
what God has conferred upon you in virtue of your birth. Yen- 
soon you will cause us to preach beyond the Loire, and will re- 
establish the churches in that region." But his words had 
fallen on incredulous ears. It was not until still stranger news 

1 Among the strange vicissitudes of his life, Gabriel d'Amours. having had 
the imprudence to visit Paris, in March, 1589, was discovered and thrown into 
the Bastile. It was generally agreed that the brave minister would never 
come out alive ; but, strange to say, Bussy le Clerc, who, violent and blood- 
thirsty Leaguer as he was, yet entertained an unaffected admiration for 
D'Amours' character, seems to have taken him under his special protection, 
and, in the end, to have secured his release He swore that. Huguenot as he 
was, D'Amours was worth more than all the hypocritical presidents and coun- 
cillors of parliament put together. Lestoile, i. 289. 


came from the north that the King of Navarre recalled and be- 
lieved the bold prediction. " Well, D'Amours," said he, meet- 
ing his chaplain at the conclusion of another sermon in the 
same place; "well, D'Amours, we shall preach beyond the 
Loire ! The Duke of Guise is dead ! " ' 

And now the prophecy had actually come to pass. Not only 
so, but the hand of Almighty God was seen, to the amazement 
of all beholders, employing the very monarch that had driven 
forth the King of Navarre and his followers into exile to bring 
The League th em back again to their inheritance. It was no 
at SS&T 1611 * wonder that thoughtful men of all shades of religious 
va£fto g the opinion, however much they might differ on other 
throne. matters, were equally impressed at the sight of so 

singular a coincidence and alike ascribed it to the design of a 
higher Being who presides over the destinies of the human 
race. Thus the fair-minded Lestoile, curious collector of all 
that was most singular and deserving of preservation for the ben- 
efit of subsequent ages, jotted down in his invaluable journal : 
" The king who, carried away by the times, had so long waged 
war against Navarre, and had even been constrained to furnish 
the League both men and means for waging it, was he that led 
this prince, as it were, by the hand, in order afterward to es- 

1 This interesting incident is preserved in a remarkable letter of the Hugue- 
not minister, of which I have already made use, and to which I shall again 
have occasion to refer. " Peu de jours avant que feu monsieur de Guise fust 
tue et qu'aux estaz de Bloys on avoit prononce sentence contre vous, vous con- 
solant en ung presche je vous dys en la hasle de St. Jehan : ' Les hommes ne 
vous sauroyent oster ce que Dieu vous a donne de nature ; vous nous feres 
bien tost prescher dela, la Loyre et y redresseres les eglises.' Monsieur de 
Guyse fut tue peu de jours apres et me dictes en la hasle apres un presche de 
Mons. de Lacroix : ' Eh bien, Damours, nous prescherons dela la Loyre ; Mons. 
de Guyse est mort !' " Bulletin de la Societe de l'histoire du Protestantisme 
francais, i. 281. It was a graceful thing in Henry of Navarre to select the 
minister who had been the first to predict from the open pulpit the re-estab- 
lishment, under his authority, of the Protestant churches north of the Loire 
to deliver the first sermon after the crossing at Saumur. And it was appro- 
priate in D'Amours himself to take the themes of his discourses on this occa- 
sion from the mighty deliverances of Israel by the hand of Joshua — "car," 
said he, " vous esties le Josu* : du Seigneur des armees pour nous faire passer 
le Jordain et nous mestre en possession de la terre de Canaan." Ibid., i. 282. 
Vol. II.— 10 


tablish him in the heritage which God had promised him by so 
many pledges of His blessings ; and this by means altogether 
unknown to men, and more miraculous than can be imagined. 
For it was the pope, it was the Spaniard, it was the Lorraine 
princes, it was the Savoyard, it was the League, it was the ' Six- 
teen ; ' in short, it was his greatest enemies that bore him on 
their shoulders to a seat upon the royal throne. A miracle of 
miracles in truth, yet a miracle which we have seen with our 
own eyes I" 1 And Davila, a writer as different from Lestoile 
as Italy in the sixteenth century was different from France, 
took the very same view. " Truly," he exclaims, " it was a 
thing worthy of very great wonder, and one of the secret mys- 
teries of God's divine wisdom, that the King of Navarre, being 
weak and forsaken of all, reduced into a narrow corner of the 
kingdom, and for the most part in want of things necessary for 
his own maintenance, so that he was fain to live more like a 
soldier of fortune than a great prince ; his enemies, by too 
much eagerness in pursuing him, and by too ardent a desire to 
see him utterly ruined, should labor to plot so many \va\ 
raise so many wars, to treat so many leagues, to make s<> many 
conspiracies and practise so many arts, from all which resulting 
to his advantage, his greatness and exaltation did, as it were, 
miraculously succeed. For there was no man versed in the 
affairs of France, and far from the passions of both parties, 
who saw not clearly that, if the king had been suffered to live 
and rule as peaceably as he ought to have done, the King of 
Navarre would by little and little have been destroyed and 
brought to nothing; for peace and length of time would abso- 
lutely have dissolved that little union which was among the 
Huguenots, and, by those occasions and necessities which length 
of time would have produced, the obstinacy of the Rochellers, 
wherein the sum of affairs consisted, would finally have been 
overthrown and broken, and the king, a most bitter enemy to 
heresy, would in a manner insensibly, by divers arts, have 
rooted it out and destroyed it. "Whereas, on the contrary, the 
revolution of the wars and factions did not only foment the 

1 Lestoile, i. 291. 


stubbornness of the Huguenots (who were so much the more 
hardened to resist by how much they thought they were wrong- 
fully persecuted), but also in the end made way for the King of 
Navarre's reconciliation with the king and with the French no- 
bility, furnished him with arms and power, and, at last, con- 
trary to his own expectation and the natural course of things, 
opened him a passage to attain unto the crown." ' 

Nothing remained, for the more perfect exhibition of the 
new union between Henry of Yalois and Henry of Navarre, 
Meeting of except that they should again meet after their long 
Msluu^Hlnry separation. Accordingly, on Sunday, the thirtieth 
of Navarre. Q £ ^\p r j] ? tj ie y were brought face to face under the 
trees of the park of Plessis les Tours. Great was the crowd of 
spectators anxious to behold the unlooked-for scene of the rec- 
onciliation of the king and his brother-in-law. Great were the 
demonstrations of joy on every side. For full a quarter of an 
hour, if we are to believe the chronicles of the day, did the two 
princes strive in vain to cleave the press, that they might reach 
each other. For so long did deafening shouts fill the air of 
" Long life to the king ! Long life to the King of Navarre ! 
Long life to the kings ! " And when at last they came together, 
when they embraced one another with effusive affection, when 
tears " as big as peas " rolled down Navarre's cheeks, when 
Henry of Yalois, not permitting his Huguenot cousin to throw 
himself at his feet, walked with him in friendly converse to the 
town — the enthusiasm of all who saw them knew no bounds. 2 
Truth to say, however, Navarre breathed somewhat more freely 
when he returned to the quarters of his troops. He had re- 
ceived an abundance of warnings from his faithful followers, 
and he was not himself ignorant of the French king's past acts 
of treachery. Nothing seemed more possible than that the 
Yalois might take a fancy to send the heretic's head to the 
Parisians — a grateful pledge of peace. 3 In proportion as his 

1 Davila (book 10), 391, 392. I have followed the somewhat quaint old 
English of the London translation published in 1678. 

2 Lestoile, i. 291 ; Davila, 397 ; De Thou, vii. 450, etc. 

3 Lestoile, ubi supra. 


own apprehension had been great, his expressions of relief were 
hearty. " Monsieur Duplessis," he wrote, in a note despatched 
the very evening of the interview, " the ice is broken, not but 
that I received a great number of warnings that if I went 
thither I was a dead man. I have crossed the water, com- 
mending myself to God, who in His goodness has not only pre- 
served me, but caused indications of extreme joy to appear upon 
the king's countenance, and made the people indulge in un- 
paralleled applause. They even cried, * Vivent les Bois ! * — a 
thing that displeased me much." ' 

And now the outcast, whom the King of France had so 
long been endeavoring to annihilate, became at one stroke that 
monarch's most trusty adviser and the right arm of his strength. 
Exasperated beyond endurance at the treachery of the Duke of 
Mercceur, Henry of Valois could scarcely renounce the idea of 
marching in person into Brittany to bring him to his knees. 
But Navarre by his firmness prevented him from taking so sui- 
cidal a course. "If the king go to Brittany," he had written, 
a month or two earlier, to Duplessis, " he is lost. It will look 
like a flight before the Duke of Mayenne. On the simple an- 
nouncement of it Meung, Beaugency, Blois, Tours, and Sau- 
mur will revolt." 2 And later, hearing that the project had 
been revived, he wrote in haste to the king himself: "I fell 
into a rage about it, for to regain your realm you must pass 
over the bridges of Paris. Whoever shall counsel you to take 
another path is no good guide." : He therefore begged the 
king not to divide his forces, but to gather them all into one 
great army against which the enemy could not stand. 

It was not long before the new Huguenot allies were able to 
do effective service for their late persecutor. Scarcely had a 
week elapsed since the interview at Plessis les Tours when the 
Duke of Mayenne, who had advanced with an army to a short 

1 Henry of Navarre to Duplessis Mornay, dated from the suburbs of Tours, 
April 30, 1589 ; in Memoires de Duplessis Mornay, iv. 355, and Lettres mis- 
sives de Henri IV., ii. 477. 

2 Henry of Navarre to Duplessis Mornay, March, 1589, Memoires, iv. 3-49. 

3 Same to Henry III., June 6, 1589, Lettres missives, ii. 499. 


distance north of the city of Tours, with the apparent intention 
of pushing westward to Angers and the river Maine, suddenly 
Mayenne's at- turned and presented himself on the banks of the 
^buT?f the Loire. The city of Tours, built on the left bank of 
the river, was united by a bridge to the suburb of 
Saint Symphorien, occupying the opposite shore. To get pos- 
session of the suburb was Mayenne's first object, and in this, 
after a long and severe struggle, he was successful. Nor, in- 
deed, did it seem improbable that he would go farther, and that 
Tours itself would fall into his hands. Fortunately Navarre, to 
whom the king in his distress sent, imploring assistance, although 
too far distant to bring up his whole forces in time, was able, 
nevertheless, to send in advance his arquebusiers, under com- 
mand of Francois de Chatillon. Never was help more timely 
or effective. With the support of the Huguenots, the loyal 
Roman Catholics turned the tide of battle, and the night fell 
leaving the bridge still in the hands of the king's troops. 

Nor was Henry of Yalois altogether insensible of the great 
service which the Protestants, lately hunted down with relent- 
less hatred, had rendered him. He even testified his apprecia- 
tion of their valor by ostentatiously throwing the white scarf 
of the Bourbon prince over his own shoulders, to the no small 
disgust of such bigoted and intolerant followers as Monsieur 
d'O, Clermont d'Entragues, and Chateauvieux, while sensible 
Roman Catholics like Marshal Aumont applauded the act. 

The soldiers of the League were not less complimentary than 
the king ; for, recognizing among their opponents the cham- 
pions of that religion which they were sworn to exterminate, 
they had, notwithstanding, paid an almost involuntary tribute 
to their valor. " Withdraw, wearers of the white scarf ! " they 
cried. " Withdraw, brave Huguenots, honorable men ! With- 
draw, Chatillon ! It is not with you we have to do, but with 
that perjurer, the murderer of your father ! " 1 It seemed to 
men a strange freak of fortune that threw in the way of Ad- 
miral Coligny's son the opportunity to defend against the as- 

1 The words are given, with slight variations, by Lestoile, i. 294, by Agrippa 
d'Aubigne, iii. 169, etc. 


sault of one of the Guisards the life of a king who had coun- 
tenanced Henry of Guise in his dastardly plot to butcher the 
great Huguenot captain in the Rue de Bethisy. 1 That night 
the suburb of Saint Symphorien remained in the power of the 
army of the League. Of the deeds of horror that were per- 
Excessesof petrated contemporary chronicles have left us ac- 
the LeTgu? at counts whose authenticity is but too well attested. 
Tours, Men, claiming to be enlisted in the defence of religion, 

boldly avowed the principle that the champions of so holy a 
cause were justified in disregarding every precept of the divine 
law, and might properly give the rein to every unholy passion. 
Not a woman that fell into their hands was spared the most 
extreme indignities. Drawn from their hiding-places, all were 
alike made to minister to the lust of a soldiery that showed no 
respect for things human or divine. Even the church of Saint 
Symphorien, which gave its name to the suburb, afforded no 
safe refuge to the miserable fugitives. Maid and matron were 
outraged in the holy precincts, and before the eyes of fathers, 
brothers, and husbands, compelled, at the point of the sword, 
to look on, but impotent to render assistance. It was a prac- 
tical demonstration of the hypocrisy of the League's pretence 
of warring against its lawful king in behalf of the orthodox 
Christian faith, that Roman Catholics inflicted this violence not 
upon heretics, but upon their fellow Roman Catholics. The 
-coffers of the church and the instruments of its most sacred 
rites were not too holy to be plundered. Two chalices having 
been discovered, of which the one was of silver and the other of 
pewter, the pious robbers found it a good occasion for the dis- 
play of their grim humor. The pewter chalice was inconti- 
nently declared to belong to the " Union," and could not be 
touched with a clear conscience; but the silver was " royal n 
and " heretical," and, consequently, a lawful prize. 1 

1 "Mr. de Chastillon, a la teste des troupes de ceux de la religion, fit nier- 
veille de bien combattre pour le roy qui avoit assiste de sa presence le due de 
Guise lorsqu'il fit massacrer laschement l'amiral son pere, pendant le regne 
de feu son frere Charles neuviesme." Memoires de Jacques Gaches, 3^S. 

-See the loyalist pamphlet, " Conseil salutaire d'un bon Francois aux 
Parisiens . . . avec un discours veritable des actes plus nicmorables de 


Had the incidents of the treatment of the faubourg Saint 
Svmphorien stood alone, there would be little occasion for re- 
mark. The best of causes may sometimes be unfortunate in 
and else- the persons of its advocates. But the conduct of the 
soldiers of the League at Tours did not constitute a 
solitary exception. It was the rule of what happened through- 
out France. Where, as at Arquenay, near Laval, credulous 
Roman Catholic burghers submitted to troops professing the 
same religious tenets, with little fear of suffering wrong, they 
were speedily undeceived. Their own lives, the honor of their 
wives, the treasures of their churches — ail were sacrificed. 
Sometimes, in mere wantonness, the Leaguers took delight in 
defiling baptismal fonts with filth, or dressed the camp-follow- 
ers, by way of derision, in the vestures of the priests, or paro- 
died the service of the mass and gave the consecrated wafer to 
the dogs, or trampled it under foot. Now and then, it is said, 
they pretended to evidence both their scrupulous determination 
to observe the church's appointed fasts, and their belief in the 
virtue of the sacraments when administered by an ecclesias- 
tic properly ordained. Setting before a curate, or his vicar, a 
plentiful supply of meat, they compelled him, with the dag- 
ger at his throat, to go through the ritual of Holy Baptism. 
When veal, pork, mutton, chickens, and capon had been duly 
christened by the names of pike, carp, soles, turbot, and herring, 
the mailed champions of the papacy, pledged to the utter exter- 
mination of the Huguenots, did not hesitate to partake of the 
most sumptuous banquet on the days of strict abstinence. 1 In 

la Ligue, depuis la journee des Barricades, jusques a la fin de May, 1589," re- 
printed in Memoires de la Ligue, iii. 446, 447, and, in part, in Cimber et 
Danjou, Archives curieuses, xii. 312-348. Recueil des choses memorables, 

693 ; Lestoile, i. 293, 294 ; De Thou, vii. 456. 

1 The author of the '"Conseil salutaire," above cited, himself evidently a 
Roman Catholic as well as a loyalist, expressly declares, with respect to this 
particular form of sacrilege, that it had occurred more than once : " Cela ne 
s'est pas fait en un lieu seul, ne (ni) par une seule troupe, ni une seule fois ; vous 
ne le pouvez ignorer, comme aussi ne pouvez-vous l'endurer, que vous ne par- 
ticipiez a cest atheisme, pour lequel sans doute Dieu les confondrabientost et 
vous aussi." Ubi supra, iii. 439. See, also, Recueil des choses memorables, 

694 ; Lestoile. i. 298. The curious reader may compare with this occurrence, 
thus vouched for, the story oi Boccaccio (to which Mr. Creighton has referred 


short, to such a pass had matters come, that a royalist could bit- 
terly exclaim, and others caught up the remark and gave it 
their indorsement : " At the present day, to plunder one's 
neighbor; to murder one's brother, uncle, cousin; to rob altars; 
to profane churches ; to levy upon Catholics — this is the ordi- 
nary exercise of a Leaguer. To have the mass and religion 
always on the lips, and atheism in the heart and in the actions ; 
in a word, to violate laws, divine and human, is the infallible 
mark of a ' zealous Catholic' " ' 

The insolence of the League at Tours was short-lived. As 
soon as night was over, Mayenne, fearing to attempt to hold 
the suburb, or to renew his attempt upon the town, since the 
King of Navarre had come to the help of the King of France, 
hastily withdrew the attacking force. And now, indeed, 
The fortunes strengthened by the accession of the Huguenots, 
vaSs n Si- of whom he had once driven forth from his presence, 
prove. Henry of Yalois seemed to have passed the apogee of 

his unfortunate reign. The capital might rave in its fury 
against the monarch who had added to the crime of assassinat- 
ing the " good Catholic princes " the yet more heinous offence 
of making common cause with an excommunicated heretic ; the 
doctors of the Sorbonne might stand by their rebellions opin- 
ions, adding, on the fifth of April, a fresh resolution, to the ef- 
fect that the petition for Henry of Yalois should henceforth be 
dropped from the canon of the Mass, and prescribing a form 
of prayers which the clergy might use for those in authority, 

in his History of the Papacy, i. 110), of the "bishop who, not having fish at hand 
for his dinner on Friday, eats a partridge and explains the act thus to his 
scandalized servant : " You know that by means of words I and all the other 
priests make of a wafer, which is nothing hut wheat and water, the precious 
body of Jesus Christ. Can I not then much more by words cause these par- 
tridges, which are flesh, to be converted into fish, albeit they may still retain 
the form of partridges ? " 

' "Conseil salutaire," in Memoires de la Ligue, iii. 447, 448. (The expres- 
sion is repeated in almost the same words by Lestoile, i. 290, 291. ) Else- 
where the anonymous writer uses equally strong words to describe the prowess 
of the Leaguer : " Aussi les violemens des femmes et fllles de tous ages, 
mesmes es temples saincts, les sacrileges des autels, cela n'est que jeu parmi 
eux, c'est vaillantise et galanterie, c'est une forme essentiel d'un bon 
ligueur." Ubi supra, iii. 439. 


without leading the incautious people to mistake the celebrant's 
intention and suppose that he was interceding for the hated 
monarch ; J the pope might fulminate a " Monitory," excommu- 
nicating the King of France, unless, within ten days, he should 
release the Cardinal of Bourbon and the Archbishop of Lyons 
from the unjust imprisonment in which they were detained, 
and summoning him and his accomplices to appear at Rome,, 
within sixty days, to give account for the murder of the Cardi- 
nal of Guise. 2 But neither the wrath of the Parisians, nor the 
denunciations of the Sorbonne, nor the ecclesiastical thunders 
of Sixtus the Fifth could check the progress of the two kings. 
It is true that the poor commons of France, burdened almost 
beyond endurance, were in no mood to lend very enthusiastic 
support ; but the rebellion of the " Gautiers" — armed peasants 
of Normandy — had been suppressed, 3 and there was the pros- 
pect that the patient tiers etat might continue for a while 
longer to afford to the rest of Christendom the edifying specta- 
cle of a people crushed to the earth, but making little or no 
effort to free itself from the intolerable load of taxation, and of 
other forms of oppression which monarch, church, and nobles 
had united in heaping upon it. 

Defeated near Bonneval, in Beauce, by the Huguenot Fran- 
cois de Chatillon, and before the walls of Senlis, on the opposite 
side of Paris, by the troops of the Duke of Longue- 

The king ad- ~ 

vances toward ville, the boastful League saw steadily approaching; 

the capital. . . ° J . , & 

the army which might soon bring the capital to sue 
for peace. The mission of Schomberg and De Thou to Ger- 
many had met with a favorable response, and Sancy had been 
still more successful in Switzerland. By midsummer a force 
of ten thousand Swiss, with two thousand lansquenets and 
fifteen hundred reiters, had penetrated the kingdom and were 
hastening to the king's assistance. Meanwhile Henry of Va- 

1 " Arrests et resolution des docteurs de la Faculte de Paris, sur la question, 
sqavoir s'il faloit prier pour le Roy au Canon de la Messe. A laquelle sont 
adjoustees avec licence des superieurs deux oraisons colligees pour la conser- 
vation des Princes Catlioliques, et pour obtenir la victoire encontre les enne- 
mis." Meinoires de la Ligue, iii. 567-570. 2 De Thou, vii. 442, 443. 

a Ibid., vii. 438, 439. Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 170. 


lois, approaching Paris from the south, had come from Tours 
to Jargeaux and Pithiviers, had taken Etampes, hanging the 
magistrates of the town as a warning to others that might vent- 
ure to defy his authority, and had struck the Seine below the 
capital. Poissy, scene of the famous colloquy, offered but faint 
resistance, and, by means of its broad bridge, permitted the 
royal forces to press on to the siege of Pontoise. 1 The time 
required for the reduction of this place was well spent; for 
with Pontoise in his possession, and with a tight grasp upon 
the lower Seine, the king effectually cut off all possibility of 
victualling Paris from the direction of Kormandy, whether by 
land or water. At this auspicious moment the Swiss made 
their appearance, in company with Tavannes, who had gone to 
meet them on the confines of Burgundy, and with Longueville 
and La Noue, whose troops had acted as their convoy from the 
province of Champagne. It was a proud day for the royal 
cause, lately so depressed, when, in company with his cousin of 
Navarre and his kinsman, the Duke of Montpensier, Henry of 
Yalois reviewed an army now numbering forty-two, or, accord- 
ing to other accounts, forty-five thousand men. 

If the royalists were elated, the League was correspond- 
ingly depressed. The Duke of Mayenne had been able to do 
nothing to hinder the junction of the foreign auxiliaries with 
the king's main force. lie now saw his small army daily 
shrinking by the desertion of the French troops, and threat- 
ened with the loss of all the foreigners, who loudly talked of 
going over in a body to the enemy's side. Only a blow at the 
person of the king himself could save Paris from falling into 
his hands, and that blow w r as now struck. 

A weak-headed monk of the Dominican order, a mere boy 

of twenty-two or twenty-three years, with mind possessed by 

the idea incessantly proclaimed by the preachers of 

Jacques cie- Paris, that Henry of Yalois was not onlv a tyrant 

but a perfidious enemy of the church, whose existence 

upon the earth ought no longer to be endured — such was the 

1 See the " Discours du siege de Pontoise," in Le Ckarpentier, La Ligue a 


puny instrument that was to cut the thread of the sovereign's 
life in the very hour of approaching victory. Such was the 
man who was to bring to its end a royal house which had 
reigned for the space of two hundred and sixty-one years, and 
had given to France no fewer than thirteen successive monarchs. 
Such was the man who was to introduce to the throne a Hugue- 
not prince, in the person of the first Bourbon king of France. 
Friar Jacques Clement seems to have meditated the murderous 
act for a considerable time, but his threats, uttered when Henry 
of Yalois was still distant from Paris, were regarded by those 
who heard them as idle boasts, such as weak men often in- 
dulge in with the hope of making themselves appear important. 
Davila, the historian, tells ns that he remembered well to have 
seen the future assassin's fellow-monks making sport of an en- 
thusiast whom they regarded as master of but half his wits, 
and derisively styled " Captain Clement." But now, with Henry 
of Yalois hovering over Paris, ready to pounce upon the de- 
voted city, the League felt that the critical moment had arrived. 
Xow, too, the friar's menaces became offers, and these offers 
fell upon not unwilling ears. Clement's confessor did, indeed, 
refer him to his superior, the prior, and both of the ecclesias- 
tics advised him to fast and pray, with the view of obtaining 
certainty that his design was no instigation of the devil, but a 
true inspiration from Heaven. But when, as might have been 
anticipated, the hot-headed youth returned with the assurance 
that he had followed their suggestions, and that he found him- 
self only the more impelled to his undertaking, his ghostly 
counsellors themselves became the advocates of regicide. They 
depicted in glowing colors the preferment he should have, if he 
escaped death, and held forth to him the prospect of the mar- 
tyr's crown, in case he should perish. They introduced him 
to the " holy widow," as she was called, the Duchess of Mont- 
He is encour- pensier, sister of the murdered Guises, and that f ren- 
iKchew of he z ied devotee of the League encouraged him yet more 
Montpeneier. ^ p ersevere { n his project. She received him hospit- 
ably at her house, and plied him with all the persuasive arts 
which the members of the Society of Jesus, then active in the 
capital, were able to exercise. If the duchess be not greatly 


maligned, she even stimulated his courage by dishonorable fa- 
vors accorded or promised. 1 

Thus it was that, on the last day of July, the clownish monk, 

having been provided by an unsuspecting royalist lately taken 

prisoner by the Parisians with a letter of introduc- 

Clement r . . J . . . 

comes to st. tion to his mends in the kings annv, commending 

Cloud. , . tit. • 11. . 

him as a man who had important intelligence to give 
to Henry in person, found his way to the village of St. Cloud, 
where the monarch had taken up his quarters in the castle not 
long since erected by Gondy. Clement came none too soon. 
The king's troops already invested the northern suburbs of 
Paris — St. Honore, Montmartre, and St. Denis ; while Henry 
of Navarre, with his quarters at Meudon, kept the southern 
suburbs of St. Germain and St. Marcel well shut in. A gen- 
eral assault on the enemy's works had been determined upon 
for the second day of August. Early on the morning of Tues- 
day, the first day of that month, the monk was admitted to an 
audience by the king, who had just risen and was partially 
dressed. Henry of Valois, upon whose mind, as he was wont 
to tell his courtiers, the sight of the monastic cowl made an im- 
pression as pleasurable as the most delicate bodily sensation,' 1 
had readily consented to see Clement. As readily did he now 
direct his attendant noblemen to retire to a distant part of 
the room, that he alone might hear the friar's confidential dis- 
He wounds closure. Clement had handed to the seated monarch 
the King. a ] e ^ er ^ w jth the request that he should peruse it, 
when he saw that the expected opportunity was his. Quickly 
drawing from his sleeve a knife which he had kept there eon- 

1 "lis ajoutent," says the historian De Thou (vii. 488), who never fails to be 
as charitable as the circumstances of the case will permit him to be. " que, 
pour achever de le determiner, elle en etoit venue jusqu'a lui accorder sur 
l'heure ce qu'il y avoit de plus capable de tenter un inoine debauche ; ce que 
je ne puis cependant croire, a moins qu'on dise que l'ardeur de la vengeance, 
qui avoit deja aveugle cette femme violente jusqu'a lui faire commettre tant 
d'autres crimes, Tengagea encore, pour assouvir sa rage, a fermer les yeux sur 
l'infamie de celui-ci." 

2 u Je lui ai moi-meme souvent entendu dire, que leur vue [sc. des moines] 
produisoit le meme effet sur son ame, que le chatouillement le plus delicat 
sur le corps." De Thou, vii. 486. 


cealed, he instantly plunged it up to the handle in the body of 
the unprotected man before him, making a deep gash on the 
left side of the abdomen. In another moment Henry had 
drawn the weapon out, still further enlarging the wound, and 
with it had struck Clement on the forehead. At the noise of 
the scuffle, and at the sound of the king's exclamation, " Ah ! 
the wicked monk ! " the noblemen in attendance rushed to the 
king's side. One of them ran Clement through with his sword, 
thus despatching the murderer, and saving him from the linger- 
ing tortures which would otherwise have been his fate. In an- 
other moment the infuriated courtiers had precipitated the body 
of the assassin from the window to the ground below, there to 
be torn in pieces and burned. The ashes were ultimately cast 
into the Seine. 1 

The first opinion of his physicians was favorable to the king's 
recovery. Letters w T ere accordingly written in his name to the 
Count of Montbeliard and other allied princes abroad, as well 
as to Duplessis Mornay, and to other officers and governors 
throughout the kingdom, full of hopeful prognostications. His 
perfidious enemies, Henry was made to say, in despair of suc- 
ceeding by other means, had taken advantage of the zeal he 
bore to his religion, and the free access and audience he was 
accustomed to give to all religious persons, poor churchmen, 
that desired to talk with him, and had violated all divine laws 
by sending a Dominican monk to assassinate him. But God 
had disappointed his damnable design, by causing the knife to 
slip ; so that, if it pleased Him, no damage would ensue, and 
in a few days he would recover his former health. 2 But the 
joy of fancied deliverance from peril was short-lived. A hem- 
orrhage, unnoticed at first, showed that the wound of the royal 
patient was mortal. Isor did Henry of Valois, when he learned 

1 The composers of anagrams were unusually fortunate in the case of the 
assassin's name. They found that " Frere Jacques Clement " was convertible 
into " C'est l'enfer qui m'a cree " — " It was hell that created me." The dis- 
covery was altogether so satisfactory as to discourage any further attempts. 

2 Henry III. to the Count of Montbeliard, Bridge of St Cloud, August 1, 
1589, in Memoires de la Ligue, iii. 590, 591. The same to Duplessis Mornay, 
same date, in Memoires de Duplessis Mornay, iv. 379-381. 


the fact, exhibit any lack of courage. In fact, if the manner of 
dying were as satisfactory a test of character as the manner of 
living, we might easily be misled by the calm deportment and 
pious words of a prince who until now had merited little else 
of the world than loathing and contempt. But while we may 
charitably pass by without comment the religious professions of 
the king, we must note his political injunctions, and particularly 
his views of the treatment of the Huguenots. Instead of the 
prosecution of a plan for the extermination of heresy such as he 
had ostentatiously proposed for himself after the murder of the 
Duke of Guise, he counselled his assembled noblemen to defer 
the settlement of differences in matters of religion until the 
convocation of the states general of the realm. Meanwhile he 
conjured them to remain united, and never to lay down their 
arms until they should have utterly cleansed France of those who 
now disturbed its peace. Above all, he called upon them to 
give their loyal support to his successor, Henry of Navarre, who. 
on receiving the news of the monk's dastardly attack, bad 
hastily ridden over from Meudon, and at that moment si 
in the midst of the group of his sorrowing attendants. " I pray 
you as my friends, and I command you as your king," said he, 
" to recognize after my death my brother who stands there." ' 

The customary mass was celebrated ; the customary litanies 
were repeated. The solemn words of the u Miserere " were upon 
Death of the dying king's lips as he followed the voice of the 
Sis" r L°guIt a officiating priest, when, just as he reached the petition, 
2,1589. " Redde mihi lcetitia?)i salutis tui" — "Restore unto 

me the joy of thy salvation " — speech failed him." It was early 
on the morning of the second of August, 1589, that he ex- 
pired. Though he had reigned more than fifteen years, he waa 
but a little more than thirty-six years of age. 3 

1 Memoires du Due d'Angouleme (Collection Petitot), 532. See, also, the 
reported speecli in the contemporary publication, " L'assassinat et parricide 
commis en la personne du tres-chrestien et tres-illustre Roy de France et de 
Pologne, Henri troisiesme du noni," in Memoires de la Ligue, iii. 587-580. 

2 Davila, 406. 

" For the incidents connected with the death of Henry III., the following, 
among others, may be consulted : Pasquier, Lettres, ii. 333-335 ; Lestoile, i. 


One of the last of Henry of Valois' reported speeches is said 
to have been a suggestion to his namesake of Navarre to abjure 
his present religious faith : " Brother, I assure you," he is said 
to have exclaimed twice, as he embraced him, " you will never 
be King of France if you turn not Catholic, and if you humble 
not yourself to the church." ' Yet, even with respect to the 
deceased himself, so difficult and doubtful was the 
excommimi- question whether he did not die excommunicated, that 

cated* , 

the answer could only be reached by an arithmetical 
process. His enemies, indeed, maintained that the monitory of 
Sixtus settled the point ; for the Yery Christian King had 
neither liberated the imprisoned prelates nor done penance for 
the murder of the Cardinal of Guise. But his advocate, the 
Duke of Xevers, had an unanswerable argument to offer in re- 
joinder. The papal monitory itself had allowed thirty days for 
the release of the Cardinal of Bourbon and the Archbishop of 
Lyons, dating from the formal publication of the document 
within the kingdom. Now, that publication took place in the 
city of Chartres on the ninth day of July. Since Jacques Cle- 
ment struck the blow of which the king died within twenty-four 
days, or on the first of August, it was evident, not only that 
Henry the Third died free of the censures of the church, but 

301, etc. ; Davila, ubi supra ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 182-185 ; De Thou, vii. 
486-489 ; Recueil des choses memorables, 702 ; Journal d un cure ligueur 
(Jehan de la Fosse), 225, 226 ; Memoires du Due d'Angouleme, 529, etc. ; 
L'assassinat et parricide commis en la personne dutres-chrestien et tres-illustre 
Roy de France et de Pologne, Henri troisiesme du nom, in Memoires de la Ligue, 
iii. 587, etc. ; Discours veritable de l'estrange et subite mort de Henri de Valois, 
ibid., iv. 9, etc., and other pieces of the times reprinted in the same collection, 
and in Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, vol. xii., such as l 'Le inartyre 
de Frere Jacques Clement," etc. 

1 Davila, ubi supra. According to the Duke of Angouleme (ubi supra, 530), 
who was present, his words were : "La justice, de laquelle j'ay tousjours este 
le protecteur, veut que vous succediez apres moy a ce royaume, dans lequel 
vous aurez beaucoup de traverses si vous ne vous resolvez a changer de religion. 
Je vous y exhorte autant pour le salut de vostre ame que pour 1 'a vantage du 
bien que je vous souhaite." It will be remembered that the writer of these 
Memoires was Charles, Count of Auvergne, natural son of Charles IX. by Marie 
Touchet, a lad of fifteen or sixteen at the time of his uncle's death. He sub- 
sequently became Duke of Angouleme. 


that lie had actually a respectable number of days of grace — 
nine, according to the duke's liberal computation. 1 

However this might be, of one thing there was no doubt : 

the King of France, a Poman Catholic, had been murdered by 

the hand of a Eoman Catholic — indeed, of a monk of 

The murder- 

cms deed ema- the Poman Catholic Church. It was no persecuted 

nates from a L 

Roman Catho- Huguenot, maddened by the remembrance of past 
wrongs done by Henry or his predecessors, that had 
avenged the injuries of his fellow-believers. It was no fanat- 
ical Protestant, intoxicated by the prospect of securing a mon- 
arch of his own faith and party, that had opened the way to 
the throne for Henry of Xavarre by violently thrusting aside 
the only obstacle remaining in the way. The Protestants of 
France, the hated Huguenots, had added yet another proof that 
they were no regicides, by abstaining, through the long years 
of oppression under a fifth persecuting king, from the slightest 
attempt to play the part of self-constituted agents of divine 
retribution. In an age in which assassination was so common, 
they were fairly entitled to this proud distinction ; and it is 
noteworthy that a member of the " Sacred College,'' a Puman 
cardinal, voluntarily accorded them this unsolicited homage in 
a secret interview which he held, some years later, with the 
pope's principal representative. It was on Sunday, the twenty- 
second of January, 1595, that the eminent Cardinal Ossat sought 
and obtained an interview with Cardinal Aldobrandini, neph- 
ew of Pope Clement the Eighth. The news of the attempt 
made upon the life of Henry the Fourth, now a Roman Cath- 
olic, by Jean Chastel, had reached Pome only the preceding 

1 "Traite des causes et des raisons de la prise des armes," Menioires de 
Nevers, ii. 47. Nevers reckons only to July 31st, when Jacques Clinent de- 
parted from Paris, after having celebrated the mass, on his mission of anami- 
nation. Cardinal Ossat will have it that the term was but of ten days, at the 
most, between the publication of the monitory and Henry's death ; so that 
there were full twenty days to spare. " Raisons et moyens pour montrer que 
le Roy Henri III. n'est mort excommunie," in Memoires du Cardinal d'Ossat. 
i. 29-32. Unfortunately, even such high dignitaries as the members of the 
" Sacred College " have occasionally been known to yield to the temptation of 
tampering with facts in the interest of those whom they desired to favor. 


Thursday. In reference to this great crime the French cardi- 
nal had much to say. " From such outrages," remarked Ossat, 
" as you have very wisely and holily said, no good can come. 
In the case of a prince converted to the Catholic religion, 
who ought to be strengthened and built up in every way, 
it is calculated to put a great stumbling-block in his path, 
and to disgust him with the Catholics, when those who style 
themselves the support of the Catholic religion thus seek to 
assassinate him. If there were any occasion for such murder- 
ous plots, it would be the part of the heretics to contrive and 

execute them — the heretics whom he has left and for- 
nots nev^er saken, and who might have reason to fear him. And, 
the kings of nevertheless, they have attempted nothing of the 

kind, either against him or against any of the five 
kings, his predecessors, whatever butchery their majesties may 
have made of the aforesaid Huguenots." 1 

Xo, it was not a Huguenot hand that had despatched Henry 
the Third — an inveterate hater of Protestantism and everything 
Protestant, a prince who, in his last moments, was overheard, 
at the moment when his almoner, Boulogne, was offering mass 
in his behalf, to address the Almighty in these words : " Thou 
knowest, my Lord and my God, that nothing is so dear to me 
as the maintenance of the true Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman 
religion, of which I have ever made profession." 2 It was the 
hand of a Dominican monk that had done the deed. It was 
by Roman Catholics professedly the most zealous for their faith 
that the assassination had been instigated, and it was they who 
now, in their savage delight over the success of their miserable 
agent, indulged in such mad demonstrations as Paris has wit- 
nessed only once since then, when a revolutionary mob held 
high carnival over the corpses of Louis the Sixteenth and Marie 

1 Cardinal d'Ossat to M. de Villeroy, Rome, January 25, 1595, Lettres du 
Cardinal d'Ossat, i. 108. " La ou s il y avoit aucun lieu de tels assassinats, ce 
seroit aux Heretiques a les pourchasser, ou executer, eux qu'il a quitez et 
abandonnez, et qui auroient a, se craindre de lui. Et toutefois, ils n'ont rien 
attente de tel, ni contre lui, ni contre aucun de cinq Rois, ses predecesseurs, 
quelque boucherie que leurs Majestez ayent faite desdits Huguenots." 

2 Memoires du Vuc d'Angouleme, 529. 

Vol. IL— 11 


Antoinette. And it was the Roman pontiff, Pope Sixtus die 

Fifth, who, transcending the bounds of ordinary prudence, as 

well as of what is esteemed decent in civilized coun- 

The expression . ,.-,. 

of pope sixtus tries, declared to his cardinals, in an allocution care- 
fully prepared beforehand, that the action of Jacques 
Clement w T as an enterprise so surprising, and so admirable, that 
he did not fear to compare it to the work of the Incarnation of 
the Word, and to the mystery of the Resurrection of our Lord. 
It was the same reputed head of the Roman Catholic Church 
that pronounced a eulogy upon the courage, constancy, and zeal 
of the depraved monk who had ended his dissolute life after 
murdering the Very Christian King, and exalted the monk 
himself to a position superior to that occupied in history by 
Judith and Eleazer. 1 No wonder, then, that laymen like Men- 
doza, the Spanish ambassador, found nothing else but the hand 
of the Almighty himself to which the "happy event " could 
be ascribed ; or, like young Maximilian, of Bavaria, were full 
of joy that the King of France had been despatched.' 

The day was yet distant when the church was to feel shame 
for the deed which Sixtus had lauded, and when the Dominican 
a literary order would show some desire to disclaim connection 
curiosity. with the assassin of Henry t j ie Third. That day had 

come when, in the following century, an over-zealous member 
of the order gravely undertook to demonstrate that it was not 
the real Jacques Clement, but possibly a disguised Huguenot, 
who plunged the fatal knife into the body of the last Valois 
king of France. The world, however, was not convinced, and 
the curious will probably long continue to peruse the Dominican 
apology, much as the "Historic Doubts relative to Napoleon 

1 Ranke, History of the Popes (Amer. edit.), 211. De Thou, who gives a 
pretty full account of the papal allocution in the consistory of September 11, 
1589 (vii. 495), is unable to repress his honest indignation at words " so un- 
worthy of the common father of all the faithful." After which, it is not 
surprising either that his magnificent work, the most precious historical pro- 
duction of the sixteenth century, was censured at Rome, or that its title oc- 
curs in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (I have before me the edition of 
Rome, 1841) as condemned by the decrees of November 9, 1609, and Ma_\ id, 

2 Ranke, ubi supra. 


Buonaparte " and similar works of delicate irony are read, with 
little expectation, indeed, that the established belief will be re- 
versed, but with unbounded admiration for the author's inge- 
nuity. 1 

So did a monarch, whom few loved, whom none sincerely re- 
spected, end his reign. Of pleasing appearance and easy address, 
endowed by nature with no little power over men by 

Character of .,. , 

Henry of va- means or a conciliatory oratory, he threw away every 
advantage and perverted every faculty of mind and 
body in a blind and reckless pursuit of pleasure. With aims 
as unstable as the caprice of the moment, he degraded life to 
the level of an ignoble sensual existence, from which not even 
the extreme peril of his position could supply him motives 
powerful enough to extricate him. For the most part, he 
wished only to be left undisturbed in those low enjoyments 
which he esteemed happiness. The very importunity of favor- 
ites soliciting offices at his hands irritated him, from time to 
time, beyond endurance. Certainly, among feeble or indolent 
monarchs, the king may fairly be deemed to have carried off 
the palm who issued his solemn edict declaring guilty of treason 
and enemies of the public quiet all persons who, by memorial 
or by petition, should ask of him the re-establishment of certain 
offices which he had determined should be left vacant upon the 
resignation or death of the present incumbents. 2 

A determined enemy of the Huguenots, Henry of Valois had 
left them little peace during the fifteen years of his troubled 
reign. If we might credit the assertions of the Duke of An- 
gouleme, he had, by his kindness, so gained the good will of 
the Protestant chiefs that most of them were already resolved 
to forsake their party and their religion. 3 Others, like the 
Florentine Cavriana, four years earlier, anticipated that, but for 

1 The opuscule "La Fatalite de S. Cloud pres Paris," ascribed by some to 
Pere Nicolai, a Dominican of Paris, by others to Pere de la Haye, a member of 
the same order, of Lille, originally appeared in 1672. It is reprinted in the 
second volume of the Ratisbon edition of the Satyre Menippee, pp. 435-515. 

'-' Edict of November, 1584, Isambert, Recueil des anciennes lois franchises, 
xiv. 591-593. 

3 Memoires du Due d'Angouleme, 522. 


the war then forced upon him by the League, Henry the Third 
would soon have compassed the utter extinction of Protestant- 
ism in France. The same results had again and again been 
predicted as certain to flow from the severities of Henry the 
Second and his eldest son, had not their lives been suddenly 
cut off. But the Huguenots had survived both persecution and 
cajolery ; and now a Huguenot prince had succeeded to the 
throne of France. 




The accession of a king professing their own faith to the 
throne of a country in which they constituted but a small mi- 
nority of the population marks an important epoch 
a Huguenot in the history of the Huguenots. A contingency re- 
mote enough, according to human prognostication, a 
few years since — a contingency, however, which, improbable as 
it seemed, had appeared so dreadful as to excite the fears of 
many bigoted adherents of Rome — had actually become a reality, 
and that, too, hastened by the hands of the very persons who 
most feared and dreaded it. He would have been esteemed a 
madman who should have ventured to prophesy that the Prot- 
estant head of the Bourbon family would be placed in posses- 
sion of the French crown by the hand of a fanatical monk ; or 
that the secret plots and intrigues of Madame de Montpensier 
and her fellow-conspirators would transmute the elected " Pro- 
tector " of the Reformed Churches into the monarch of the 
whole country. Yet this was precisely what the hatred of the 
ultra Roman Catholic party effected ; and history can produce 
few more instructive examples whereby to illustrate the ten- 
dency of blind human passion to overreach itself than the 
assassination of the last Valois king, a devoted adherent of 
Roman Catholicism, by those who found even his zeal too cold 
to satisfy their own hatred of Protestantism. 

Yet must it be confessed that rarely has a monarch ascended 
a throne under more trying circumstances than did Henry 
Difficulties of the Fourth. True, of the legitimacy of his claim 
his position. there could be no nonest doubt. None but the most 

prejudiced mind could call in question the right of the Bour- 
bons, as descended from Robert, younger son of Saint Louis, to 


follow the Yalois family, descended from Philip the Third, St. 
Louis' elder son ; or doubt that, among the Bourbon princes, 
Henry of Navarre, as son of Antoine, was nearer to the throne 
than Cardinal Charles, Antoine's younger brother. Had not 
religious considerations intervened, no dispute would have arisen 
upon this point. Unfortunately for Henry, however, as well 
as for the peace of France, royalty had sought and had obtained 
the sanction of the church. The king claimed to be king by 
the grace of God — not, it was held, merely in the sense in 
which all the powers that be, or the established order of gov- 
ernment in general, may be said to be ordained of Him — but 
in a peculiar, mystical, and sacramental sense. The grace, 
moreover, was not conferred by the very fact of hereditary 
succession, but chiefly, if not solely, so far as France, at least, 
was concerned, in connection with the rite of unction at Rheims, 
celebrated by priestly hands, with oil taken from the sacred 
vial known as " La sainte ampoule." In addition to this, the 
kings of France had accepted, and they still continued to cher- 
ish, as their proudest prerogative, the title of " Very Christian n 
conferred upon them by a pope. If the church threw its 
mantle over royalty, was it too much to ask that royalty should 
be in full accord with the church ? Was it too much to require 
that the king, if not of irreproachable morals, should, at any 
rate, be of immaculate orthodoxy ? How could the people be 
expected to submit to the authority of a king upon whose head 
no anointing oil had been poured, and who thus broke in 
upon a custom sanctioned by the example of the long line of 
his predecessors ? Could a Protestant, on the other hand, be 
permitted to receive this sacred unction ? Applied to him, the 
title " Very Christian "would, in the estimation of the majority 
of the nation, be solemn mockery ; while, as to the distribution 
of ecclesiastical benefices and preferments, archbishoprics, bish- 
oprics, and the like, which the Concordat of Leo the Tenth with 
Francis the First had made the richest source of income of the 
crown, to intrust this to the hands of a heretic would be fla- 
grant impiety. 

Moreover, Henry of Navarre was, according to the views 
adopted by the majority of churchmen, not only a heretic, but 


an apostate condemned by the highest ecclesiastical authority, 
and expressly declared by Pope Sixtus the Fifth, in advance of 
His relations the death of Henry of Yalois, to be a child of wrath, 
to the pope, excommunicated, and incapable of inheriting any 
principality or kingdom, and especially the kingdom of France. 
The idea that a foreign potentate could interfere in the domes- 
tic concerns of France had, indeed, been repudiated with honest 
scorn by the best and most patriotic part of the nation, and the 
pope's bull had excited more indignation among Roman Catho- 
lics than dismay among Protestants. Yet many, even of those 
who resented the pontiff's unwarranted interference, confessed 
their reluctance to acknowledge the authority, and their un- 
willingness to serve in arms under the banner of a Protestant 

It has just been stated that the adherents of Henry's religion 
formed a small minority of the population of France. What 
added particularly to the difficulty of the situation was the geo- 
graphical distribution of this minority. The Huguenot strength 
lay in the south. Much has been said of late of the adapt- 
The Hugue- edness of Roman Catholicism and Protestantism re- 
inthe r soath spectively to the southern or Latin races, and to the 
of France. northern or Teutonic ; and the attempt has been 
made to account in this way, by innate or congenital proclivi- 
ties, for the reception of the Reformed doctrines by one large 
portion of Christendom, and for the rejection of the same doc- 
trines by another and numerically more considerable portion. 
The explanation, if true, should apply with still greater ac- 
curacy of territorial demarcation to France, and should throw 
light upon the cause of the unequal diffusion of Protestantism 
among the provinces into which that kingdom was formerly 
divided. Instead of this, however, the criterion is found to be 
so utterly incorrect that the result of its application is the very 
opposite of the true state of the case. In the northern prov- 
Reiigionnot inces, in which the admixture of German blood w r as 
bfrac^or* 1 the greatest, and where the success of the doctrines 
preached by Luther and Calvin should consequently 
have been the most complete, Roman Catholicism continued to 
reign supreme. In the south, on the contrary, where the physi- 


ognomy of the people, no less than the peculiarities of the dia- 
lects they speak, betray the fact that they belong distinctively 
to the Latin race, the protest against the errors of the Church 
of Rome has never been intermitted, from the age of the Albi- 
genses, through ages of bloody crusades and persecutions, down 
to our own times. Paris has never shown any marked hospi- 
parisand tality for the Reformed doctrines, but Xismes, "the 
city of antiquities," where the traveller may stumble 
at any turn upon a temple, an amphitheatre, a fountain, or a 
tower built by the Romans — Nismes, whose archaeological re- 
mains have been said to be surpassed by those of no other city 
of Western Europe save Rome itself, retains a distinctively 
Protestant type which not even the Revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes, with its enforced interruption of the authorized exer- 
cise of Reformed worship for more than a century, has been 
able to efface. 

It cannot be denied that the circumstance that the French 
capital was so far distant from the Protestant strongholds of 
Languedoc, Gascony, and Dauphiny multiplied the obstacles in 
the way of the new king. 

But there were other facts which rendered his position a per- 
plexing one, and which must be understood by him who would 
comprehend the fatal influences hurrying the new monarch 
onward to the great catastrophe of his life in the hypocritical 
renunciation of his religious faith. 

Certainly Henry of Navarre had long looked and longed for 

the possession of the crown of France ; but if his impatience 

had ever been great, his regret was now still greater 

Attitude of p i • i i_ j \ 

theiatead- that the object ot his hopes had come so soon. At 
Henry the the tidings of the death of Henry the Third, he 
hastily took horse and rode over from Meudon to St. 
Cloud ; but the sights and sounds that awaited him in the room 
where lay the body of his predecessor were such as might have 
daunted even a more courageous heart than his. At the feet 
of the corpse two friars, with lighted candles, were mournfully 
chanting the litany of the dead ; around was a scene of unre- 
strained grief and confusion. No cries of " Long life to the 
king ! " greeted the arrival of the Huguenot prince ; but only 


murmurs of displeasure were heard, curses, imprecations. In 
place of respectful homage, he saw Roman Catholic leaders — 
such men as the Sieur d'O, his brother, Manou, Entragues, 
and the like — draw down their hats over their eyes in a man- 
ner that boded no good, while pledging themselves to die a 
thousand deaths, or to submit to any one in the world, rather 
than suffer a Huguenot king to rule over them. It was a try- 
ing time, and for a moment even Henry, who hardly knew 
what it was to fear an enemy upon the battle-field, was in dan- 
ger of quailing. 1 Happily, among his little company of Hu- 
guenot lords, and among the still smaller band of really disin- 
terested and patriotic noblemen professing the Roman Catholic 
faith, he had those who could speak a word, who could act, 
in due season. Agrippa d'Aubigne nerved the arm of the 
king, by showing him the folly of betraying any marks of 
timidity or irresolution to his wavering subjects. Guitry in- 
duced him to abandon as suicidal a plan hastily 

Good service 1 " 

rendered by formed of falling back upon the Loire. He showed 

D'Aubigne, . ' ° . r 

sancy, and him that, while he might thereby secure possession of 
Tours, Blois, and Angers, he would forfeit the ad- 
vantage of the hold which Henry the Third had regained upon 
the Seine, the Oise, and the Marne, and virtually surrender 
Xorthern France to the enemy. But of all the friends of the 
Bourbon, in this emergency, none was able to confer upon him 
so signal a service as Sancy, the able negotiator who to the 
credit he won, ten years before, in connection with the Treaty 
of Soleure and the protectorate of Geneva, had, as we have 
seen, just added fresh laurels by securing for Henry of Yalois 
a large auxiliary force of Swiss mercenaries. It was Sancy 
who, by his prompt action, and by his convincing presentation 
of the case, induced the Swiss colonels to transfer their com- 
mands from the service of the Roman Catholic Yalois to that 
of the Protestant Bourbon. It was Sancy who wrought what 
the men of his time esteemed almost a miracle, by persuad- 
ing a body of mercenaries, intent only upon gain, not merely to 

1 Agrippa cTAubigne's description is in the best vein of that graphic writer. 
Histoire universelle, iii. 183, etc. 


continue to follow a penniless king, but actually to take an oath 
to serve him for three months without pay — a thing the like of 
which, as the negotiator himself observed with pardonable com- 
placency, was perhaps never seen among the Swiss pikemen and 
the German reiters. 1 But Sancy was not alone in rendering 
sential help. Even before he had had time to bring to Henry 
the welcome intelligence of the fidelity of the Swiss, Givry had 
come to announce that he might count upon the support of the 
nobles of the lie de France, and Ilumieres and Auniont had 
been the bearers of equally encouraging assurances from two 
hundred lords and gentlemen of Picardy, and from the power- 
ful leaders of the province of Auvergne. 

Meanwhile, if the expedition of these faithful servants placed 
the king out of danger of immediate violence, the war of in- 
trigue still went on. Some of the most loyal of the late king's 
followers, like M. d'Espeisses, president of the parliament 
sitting at Tours, were so appalled by the gravity of the situa- 
tion, as actually to propose, as a means of reconciling Roman 
Catholics and Huguenots, that Cardinal Bourbon should he- 
associated with his nephew in royal authority, alleging the in- 
stances of joint possession of the imperial office among the Ro 
mans. 2 The majority of the great Roman Catholic followers 
selfishness of Henry of Yalois, taken completely by surprise at 
and intrigue, ^fr master's sudden demise, talked violently, and 
were agreed only upon one point — that they would derive all 
the private advantage possible from the present needs of the 
monarch. Some, like the dissolute Monsieur d'O, pronounced 
themselves in favor of excluding the heretical claimant from 
the throne, or compelling him to abjure upon the instant. 

1 " Chose qui ne s'estoit veue peutestre jamais parmy les Suisses et lea K - 
tres." Extrait d'un discours d'estat de M. de Sancy, General de Tarn, 
trangere qu'il amena an Roy Henry III. en harmce 1589, printed in Memoires 
de Nevers, ii. 590-594. The whole account of Sancy i> extremely valuah 
fording, as it does, with that given by Agrippa d'Aubigne, the most authentic 
statements respecting this critical period. See, also. Auguste Poirson, Histoire 
du regne de Henri IV., i. 22, etc. 

8 Memoires de Madame de Mornay (Edition of the French Historical S 
ety), 182, 183 ; Vie de Duplessis Mornay. 139. 


Others, of whom Marshal Biron was spokesman, affected greater 
moderation, but were not less dangerous, for they advocated 
delay. The cities of the realm, as well as the camp itself, 
they said, were divided between Roman Catholics and Hugue- 
nots. The Roman Catholics themselves were split into two 
factions, the royalists and the League. All the great cities 
and the lowest part of the populace belonged to the League. 
Should the action of the Roman Catholics in the camp cut off 
all hope of future reunion, these would at once throw them- 
selves into the arms of Spain. He counselled, therefore, that 
Henry of Xavarre, until his conversion, be not recognized as 
King of France, but simply as Captain-General, and as such 
receive the oaths of the loyal nobility there present. To all 
which, the reply made by Sancy, as spokesman of the patriotic 
party, was cogent. Henry of Bourbon, as nearest prince of 
the blood, was already king, having succeeded to the throne the 
instant his predecessor died ; for France, being a monarchical 
state, could no more be without a king than a body could exist 
without a head. One could not well render the crown worse 
service than by following the marshal's advice. What hope 
would there be of inducing others to recognize Henry as king, 
if his very followers should deny him any higher title than that 
of captain-general. Better would it be that those who were 
determined upon such a course should retire to their homes 
than that they should refuse him the designation of king until 
such time as he might embrace Roman Catholicism. 

These were good, sound arguments, but Biron needed some- 
thing more convincing. He drew Sancy aside from the con- 
ference of nobles, in the midst of which he had spoken, and 
said : " Until the present moment I deemed you a man of 
sense, but now I begin to lose that opinion. Ho you 

Marshal Bi- _ & . r J 

ron'sde- not see that it, betore we nave settled our matters 
with the King of Xavarrc, we establish his affairs al- 
together, he will no longer know or care for us ? The day has 
come for us to attend to our own interests. If we lose the op- 
portunity we shall never recover it, but rue our error all our 
lives." !S r o one could mistake the drift of the marshal's speech. 
Honest Sancy, although he could not help expressing his own 


judgment that it would be full time to look after private inter- 
ests when France should have been rescued from present an- 
archy, delicately proffered his own services to carry to the king 
the intimation of what Biron thought that he ought to receive 
as the guerdon of his fidelity. The offer was promptly ac- 
cepted. Henry the Fourth was in a chamber overhead, await- 
ing the issue of the conference ; Sancy laid before him Biron's 
demand, and in a few minutes returned with his majesty's gra- 
cious promise that the marshal should be rewarded with the 
County of Perigord. 1 

So early did Henry of Navarre learn the lesson of worldly 
wisdom that, if he would become undisputed king of France, 
he must buy his way to the throne by concessions of money, 
The purchase rank, or principle. Was there no path that would 
of loyalty. nave led him to the same destination save this ignoble 
one ? The question is by no means simple. I shall not under- 
take to answer it decidedly, nor shall I venture to affirm that 
the manly course of Christian integrity would have been re- 
warded with so complete a success as that which crowned a pol- 
icy, consistently pursued, of pliant and opportune yielding to 
circumstances. A man that should have endeavored to convince 
the ambitious prince of the propriety of clinging to principle, 
come what might, would doubtless have lost his pains. To him 
who has fixed his mind upon the attainment of his purpose as 
the supreme object of life, considerations of morality have lost 
the power they possess over souls of higher aspirations. Thus 
much may, however, be asserted without fear of contradiction : 
the system of purchase, upon which Henry the Fourth now 
entered, contained within it the seeds of its own perpetuation. 
The success of one aspirant was the encouragement of a second. 
The whole administration of government became venal. Mil- 
itary achievements which would have secured prompt submis- 
sion to a prince made of sterner stuff lost much of their imme- 
diate effect ; for the unsuccessful opponent, if not completely 
vanquished, still had the hope of exacting large sums of money 
as the price of ultimate surrender. The more protracted and 

1 See Sancy 's own account, Memoires de Nevers. ii. 592, 593. 


persistent the haggling, the better the prospect of securing fa- 
vorable terms. So it was that, almost before he knew it, 
Henry found himself launched upon a sea of perplexity from 
which only the most lavish grants of money could extricate him 
— money, which with him was a scarce commodity, to be ob- 
tained only by burdening yet more a wretched people. From 
the purchase of Biron's loyalty, on the first day of Henry's 
reign, to the day, nearly nine years later, 1 when the Duke of 
Mercoeur, last of the Leaguers, secured a favorable edict, with 
the retention of all his honors, as a reward for the obstinacy 
with which he had held out, the historian is compelled to 
chronicle a long series of discreditable compacts, made in the 
interest of rebellious princes, nobles, and cities — not to speak 
of the royal abjuration itself, the most immoral concession of 
them all. Of the consequent taxes which the monarch was 
compelled to lay upon the unfortunate people of France, the 
contemporary De Thou informs us that they were exacted with 
unprecedented rigor, ruining not only the lower classes, but 
even the most honorable families, whose incomes were alto- 
gether cut off by the abject poverty into which the common 
people were plunged. 2 

When, shortly after his arrival at St. Cloud, Henry heard 
d'O's insolent demand that he should instantly abjure Protes- 
tantism as an indispensable condition to recognition 
to abjure in- as king, the Huguenot prince replied firmly and 
frankly. He remonstrated against the attempt of 
those who would seize him by the throat as he took the first 
step to the throne, and compel him to adopt a course to which 
it had been found impossible to force so many plain persons, 
simply because they knew how to die. " From whom could 
you expect such a change in religious faith but from one who 
had no faith ? Would you prefer a godless king ? Would 

1 The edict in favor of the Duke of Mercoeur was accorded at Angers, 
March, 1598, in the ninth year of Henry's reign. It forms the last of the 
documents of the kind contained in a volume of nearly three hundred pages, 
entitled : " Recueil des edicts et articles accordez par le Roy Henry IV. pour 
la reunion de ses suhjets. Imprime Tan de grace, 1604." 

•-' De Thou, viii. 743, 744. 


you rely upon the troth of an atheist ? You know how that 
with my mother's milk I imbibed the teachings of a religion 
wherein I have been nurtured and brought up. You know 
that I have incurred all imaginable dangers to maintain myself 
in it, believing that I could in conscience have no other. But 
as from childhood I have been instructed in it. now that I have 
reached a more advanced age and am consequently more open 
to conviction, if you will show me that I have more error than 
truth, inasmuch as there is nothing I hold dearer than my sal- 
vation, I shall receive instruction in this matter with more 
readiness than I have hitherto maintained constancy therein." 

Meanwhile, the king's decision and the wise counsels of the 
better part of his Roman Catholic followers bore fruit in the 
adoption and publication of a document, which, it has been re- 
marked, 2 must be regarded, not as a contract beween the Prot- 
estant monarch and his subjects of another religion, but rather 
as a mutual recognition of rights. 

In the Declaration of St. Cloud, signed two days after his 

accession, Henry the Fourth pledged his faith and his royal 

word to maintain and conserve in its integrity, 

The DGclara- 

ttonof st. throughout his kingdom, the Catholic, Apostolic, and 
Cloud. _ & ,. . °, . , '. r 

Koman religion, and to introduce no innovations or 

changes in its worship or government. lie renewed the state- 
ment, made in his public declaration before the death of his 
predecessor, that he desired above all things to be instructed by 
a good, legitimate, and free council, and that he would abide 
by its conclusions. He promised, therefore, within six months, 
or earlier, if possible, to convene such a council ; and meanwhile 
to permit no exercises of any other religion than the Roman 
Catholic beyond the places where they were now held, in ac- 
cordance with the articles of the truce granted by Henry the 
Third in the month of April past, until it might be otherwise 

1 Agrippa d'Aubigne and the Duke of Angouleme (at this time as yet only 
Count of Auvergne — see above, chapter x., p. 159, note), seem both to have been 
present. I combine their accounts of Henry's speech. Histoire universelle, 
iii. 186 ; Memoires du Due d'Angoulesme, Petitot Collection, 541. 

2 By M. Auguste Poirson. 


determined in a general pacification of the kingdom, or by the 
states general to be held within the ensuing six months. He 
engaged to intrust to the hands of Roman Catholics all the 
places that might be captured, save as his predecessor had re- 
served for the Protestants one town in each bailiwick and sene- 
chaussee. He agreed to fill vacancies with adherents of the 
established church, to maintain in office all the present incum- 
bents, and to visit upon the guilty exemplary punishment for 
the murder of the late king. 

This document was followed by a second declaration on the 
part of the princes and other noblemen and gentlemen, faith- 
ful servants of Henry the Third, " whom may God absolve," 
formally recognizing Henry the Fourth as King of France and 
Xavarre, and pledging him their service and obedience, upon 
the promise and oath by him above written. Besides which, 
they humbly begged his majesty to permit them to send an 
envoy to Rome, to explain to the pope the motives that act- 
uated them in entering into these engagements, and to obtain 
his advice. 

The first document bore the signature of Henry, authenti- 
cated by that of his secretary, Ruze ; the other was signed by 
the Prince of Conty, by the Dukes of Montpensier, Longueville, 
Piney, and Montbazon, by Marshals Biron and Aumont, and 
by many others. 1 

The joint paper was admirably suited to accomplish the ob- 
ject in view. Whatever doubts might previously have existed 
Ample guar- hi the mind of any candid and dispassionate Roman 
itom e an f c r ath- e Catholic respecting Henry's intentions, there was no 
ohc religion. ] on g er r00m f or uncertainty. He had distinctly re- 
peated the assurances given, a few months earlier, in his solemn 
appeal, issued at Chatellerault, to the three orders of the king- 
dom. He fulfilled the engagement there entered into, to take 
the Roman Catholic religion under his protection. He even 

1 Declaration du roy Henry IV., St. Cloud, August 4, 1589. Text in Me- 
moires de Duplessis Mornay, iv. 381-383, and Lettres missives, viii. 357-359. 
See, also, De Thou, vii. 534 ; Davila, 410 ; Recueil des choses memorables. 
705 ; Lestoile, ii. 6. 


consented that the exercises of the Protestant worship should 
be restricted to the places in which they were authorized by the 
terms of the truce made by Henry the Third. Kay, more, he 
repeated his offer, so frequently made in the past, to receive 
instruction from a council of the church duly convened, and to 
submit to its decisions. What more could any reasonable man 
ask in the way of guarantees for the protection and free action 
of the Roman Catholic Church ? Xothing, certainly. And ac- 
cordingly every impartial adherent of that church, from Hen- 
ry's contemporaries down to his latest historian in our own 
times, has regarded the Declaration of St. Cloud as removing 
the last vestige of excuse from those who, under color of con- 
scientious scruples, still persisted in their refusal to acknowledge 
the authority of the new occupant of the throne. It is true 
that one great nobleman of Henry the Third's suite, his former 
minion, the Duke of Epernon, refused to append his 

Discontent of r . ' r \ 

the Duke of signature to the declaration, and weakened the royal 

Epernon. . . . . , . . 

army, at this inopportune moment, by withdrawing 
from the camp to Angouleme, followed by his retainers, a body 
of twelve hundred horse and six thousand foot, and by assum- 
ing in the province of which he was governor a sort of armed 
neutrality. But, although the duke had religion upon his lips, 
men needed not to be informed that the true motive was dis- 
appointed ambition. He had not been permitted to sign the 
document before the marshals, and it was not likely that he 
would fare better in the matter of precedence upon the field of 
battle. 1 

Whatever disapproval the Declaration of St. Cloud might 
incur would naturally have been expected to come from the 

king's former companions in arms, the Huguenots. 

Advice of mi i ti r i • 

Dupiessis lhe document was not, like so many 01 the most im- 
portant papers to wdiich Henry's signature was affixed, 
from the pen of Dupiessis Mornay. That skilful writer and 
judicious counsellor was, at the time, lying ill in the city of 
Saumur. But how fully the declaration must have commended 
itself to him, and to all the more prudent and sensible among 

1 De Thou, vii. 537. 


the Protestants, appears from a long memorial which he wrote 
to Henry the Fourth immediately upon hearing of the fatal 
effect of Jacques Clement's blow. In view of the natural alarm 
of the Roman Catholics at the accession of a Huguenot to the 
throne of France, Duplessis Mornay recommended Henry to 
publish just such a declaration as, in point of fact, his majesty 
had sent forth before the receipt of this communication, assur- 
ing them that no innovation would be made to the disadvan- 
tage of the Roman Catholic religion. At the same time the 
king must be careful not to displease the Protestants by fol- 
lowing the practice of his predecessors in designating them as 
" ceux de la religion pretendue reformee." Let the name be 
rather "la religion que nous disons reformee," or, "dicte re- 
formee." If, as is reasonable, the Protestants ask for greater 
liberty, let it be by petition of the chief men in each province, 
founding the demand upon preceding royal edicts that have 
been contravened through the violence of the League. Mean- 
while, let the king write to all the churches, and to the govern- 
ors of places now in Protestant hands, urging upon them both 
to exercise greater moderation than ever, and to restrain the 
popular insolence ; and let the regulations heretofore adopted 
for the protection of churches, relics, and public worship be 
more scrupulously observed than in the past. 1 

It must, nevertheless, be noticed that the moderation of 
Henry the Fourth, however perfectly it might commend itself 
Many of the to the independent judgment of Duplessis Mornay, 
SSl by no means satisfied a very considerable part — per- 
haps constituting a majority of the Huguenot popu- 
lation of France. The publication of the declaration w T as the 
signal for the departure of not a few of Henry's own followers. 
The loss was a sensible one, even if we abate somewhat from 
the statement of the Duke of Angouleme that the Protestant 
deserters were as numerous as the Roman Catholic. 2 And as 

1 " Memoire des affaires generaulx pour le service de sa majesty, tant dedans 
que dehors le royaume, qui lui feut envoye par M. Duplessis apres la mort du 
roy Henry III.," in Memoires de Duplessis Mornay, iv. 393-398. 

2 Memoires du Due d'Angoulesnie, 542. 

V©l. II.— 12 


time passed on, and as rumors were circulated of secret assur- 
ances given by the king conflicting somewhat with his public 
announcements, 1 the discontent became wide-spread through- 
out Protestant France. In Poitou and Saintonge the murmurs 
were particularly loud. The Huguenots complained that, in 
gaining a king, they had lost their " protector ; " that Henry 
in his very " Declaration " had lapsed into the use of a dis- 
tinctively Romish formula, having employed after the name of 
Henry the Third the words " que Dieu absolve ; ? ' that he seemed 
to have lost all remembrance of the churches of his own faith ; 
that in divers places Protestants were left to endure the same 
annoyances and oppression as before ; in a word, that their 
condition was no better than under the previous king, if, in- 
deed, it was not actually worse. 

Such were some of the grievances alleged by the Huguenot.-, 
as reported in the correspondence of Duplessis Mornay with 
Henry vindi- his royal master. It may not, therefore, be amiss to 
cateshimseii ari ticipate somewhat the order of events, and, in jus- 
tice to the monarch, to glance at the vindication of his course 
which, about three months later than the events now under 
consideration, he wrote with his own hand in the form of an 
open letter to his trusty Protestant servant. 

" For a month past," says Henry, " there have been rumors 
of a movement set on foot, in a colloquy held at St. Jean 
d' Angel y, tending to the election of a new protector of our 
churches. The movement was based on an alleged uncertainty 
with regard to my perseverance in the Protestant religion. 
There are malcontents who make use of every artifice in their 
power to seduce our churches of these parts. You know what 
a plot was concocted underhand in the last assembly held at 
La Rochelle. These men think that they have now found the 
right opportunity, by an examination of my actions, to accuse 
me of inconstancy and, under this pretext, to attain their ends. 
I write not because you have not heard of these matters, but I 
beg you, as one acquainted with the past, and able to vouch for 
my determination as fully as any one else, to notify the churches 

1 See Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 217. 


and all others whom you may, that such proceedings are unlaw- 
ful, and full of calumny and falsehood." 

After this exordium, here somewhat abridged, Henry pro- 
ceeded to the history of the declaration, in which he had had 
for his counsellors such men as Chatillon, La None, Beauvoir la 
Jsocle, and Guitry. lie declared that he had himself erased 
from the original draft of the document the objectionable 
words, " que Dieu absolve," and that he was not responsible 
for their reinsertion in any copies. Then, after noticing the 
other accusations brought against him, as a ground for the at- 
tempt to choose in his place a new protector of the Protestant 
churches, he expressed his curiosity to know the person that 
could be found for that office who had exposed to danger his 
life, his property, and the fruits of his toil, so often as had 
Henry of Xavarre. As to a change of religion, he thanked 
God that thus far he had remained steadfast in the faith. " I 
have never intermitted the exercise of the Protestant religion," 
said he, " in any place where I have been. To such a degree 
is this true, that there were single weeks in the course of 
which seven sermons were delivered at Dieppe by Monsieur 
d' Amours. Was this to give any indication of my purpose to 
change my religion ? " l 

Meantime, the joy that filled the hearts of the adherents 
of the League in Paris, in consequence of the success of the 
The memory murderous scheme of Madame de Montpensier and 
ciementhon- Jacques Clement, exceeded all bounds. The assassin 
at Pans, jj^g^f was exalted to the position of a martyr in 
the cause of religion. But a day or two passed before his por- 
trait was to be found, painted or in relief, adorning the walls 
of private houses, and even of the churches. Those fortunate 

1 " N'ai poinct interims l'exercise de la relligion partout ou j'ai este, telle- 
ment que telle sepmaine sept presclies se sont faicts a Dieppe par le sieur 
d' Amours. Est-ce de la donner argument ou indice de cliangement ? " 
Henry IV. to Duplessis Mornay, Etampes, November 7, 1589, in Memoires de 
Duplessis Mornay, iv. 426-430, and Lettres missives, iii. 70-73. It is only 
fair to state that the editor of the latter collection, M. Berger de Xivrey, was 
unable to discover any copy of the royal Declaration of St. Cloud containing 
the words, " que Dieu absolve." Ibid., iii. 71, note. 


persons who could show that they were his kinsmen became 
the surprised recipients of public contributions of money. 1 
The League threw off its habiliments of mourning, worn since 
Guise's death, and decked itself in bright colors, as a token of 
rejoicing at the death of the tyrant. The Duke of Mayenne, 
though pressed to assume the crown, was shrewd enough to see 
that his hour had not yet come, and declined an 

Cardinal i«i iti i • • 

Bourbon pro- empty honor which would have cost him the inend- 

claimed king. . . n , TT . 

snip and support oi opam. He was content to have 
the old Cardinal of Bourbon proclaimed king of France, under 
the title of Charles the Tenth, and, since the prelate was a 
prisoner, carefully guarded, by his royal nephew's orders, in the 
castle of Chinon, 2 himself to discharge the real functions of sov- 
ereignty, in the capacity of Lieutenant-General of the State and 
Crown of France. 3 Nor did the adherents of the League in some 
other parts of the country suffer the capital to outdo them in 
ferocious glee. The Parliament of Toulouse, in particular, dis- 
tinguished itself by issuing an order calling upon all 

Decreeofthe & e i • a i_ 1 

Parliament persons, or whatsoever station, to render thanks in 

of Toulouse. . ' i ^ r ^ r i it 

their respective churches lor the lavor shown by the 
Almighty to France in the deliverance of Paris and the cities 
of the realm ; and, lest there should be any misapprehension of 
its meaning, proceeded to command that every year, on the 
first day of August, processions and public prayers be made 
in token of gratitude for the benefits received upon that day. 4 

1 Matthieu, Histoire des demiers troubles, ii. fol. 9. 

2 Duplessis Mornay, shortly after this, succeeded in persuading M. and 
Madame de Chavigny, in whose care the captive had been placed by Henry 
III., to surrender the prelate into his hands. Cardinal Bourbon was then 
transferred to the keeping of La Boulaye and Parabere, who conducted the 
prelate to Maillezais, and thence to Fontenay le Comte, in Poitou. The re- 
ceipt of the new jailers for the cardinal's person is given in the Menioires de 
Duplessis Mornay, iv. 408, 409. It is dated September 4, 1589. Cardinal 
Bourbon did not long survive, since he died at Fontenay, May 8, 1590. Les- 
toile, ii. 16. 

3 Matthieu, Histoire des derniers troubles, ubi supra; Lestoile, ii. 10. 

4 Arrest de la Court de Parlement de Tholose, contre Henri de Bourbon, pre- 
tendu Roy de Navarre, et ses adheraus, August 22, 1589. Memoires de la 
Ligue, iv. 51. 


The judges renewed their declaration that Henry of Bourbon 
was incapable of succeeding to the throne of France. 

Altogether different was the attitude of the less bigoted Par- 
liament of Bordeaux, under the prudent suggestions of Mar- 
shal Matignon. It did not go to the length of recognizing 
the authority of Henry the Fourth, and, in fact, en- 

The Parlia- " " 

mentofBor- joined the strict observance of the so-called Edicts 
of Union ; but instead of testifying their joy at the 
murder of Henry the Third as " miraculous," after the fashion 
of Toulouse, the judges of Bordeaux deplored it as " sad and 
lamentable," and exhorted all the ecclesiastics, from the arch- 
bishop down, to offer prayers to God for the soul of the de- 
ceased monarch. 1 

Meanwhile, with forces much diminished by defections both 
of Bom an Catholics and Protestants, Henry the Fourth found 
Henry's him self impotent to carry the siege of Paris to a 
Se^and successful termination. The lack of men was not 
ammunition. hig sole difficulty> f ammunition he had a scanty 

store ; of ready money he was almost destitute. Therefore, 
making a virtue of necessity, he granted leave of absence to 
the nobles of Guyenne, Poitou, and other distant quarters, 
who, even before the catastrophe of St. Cloud, had requested 
permission to revisit their homes. Meantime, he despatched 
the Duke of Longueville to Picardy, and Marshal d'Anmont 
to Champagne, with what troops he could spare, and with in- 
junctions to rally as speedily as possible such cavaliers as could 
be induced to return to the field. He himself took another 
direction. The duty of escorting the remains of Henry of Ya- 
lois to Compiegne — the Parisians would not have tolerated the 
interment of the "tyrant "in the crypt of the abbey church 
of St. Denis — afforded a decent excuse for the with- 


marches into drawal of the royal army from the neighborhood of 

Normandy. " " ° 

the capital. From Compiegne Henry directed his 
course toward Normandy, expecting on the shores of the Brit- 
ish Channel to welcome the force which Queen Elizabeth had 

1 Arrest de la Court de Parlement de Bourdeaux, August 19, 1589. Ibid., 
iv. 49. 


promised to send to his relief. His following amounted barely 
to twelve hundred horse, three thousand French foot-soldiers, 
and two regiments of Swiss. So scanty an army, though it 
might lead Pont de l'Arche to surrender, Dieppe to open its 
gates, and the Huguenots of Caen to assume new courage, could 
scarcely be expected to perform any notable action, and itself 
offered a tempting object of attack to the enemy. So at least 
thought the Duke of Mayenne, who, at the urgent call of the 
burghers of Rouen, fearful for their own safety, issued from 
the capital at the head of three thousand horse and fifteen 
thousand foot. He had assured the credulous Parisians that 
he would, at one stroke, put an end to the war ; that soon they 
would see him returning in triumph, with the Bearnais for his 
prisoner, tied hand and foot. 1 

The undertaking was not, however, so easy as the lively im- 
agination of the duke had pictured it. On learning the ap- 
The conflicts proach of his enemy, Henry had taken an advantage- 
atArques. oug p OS iti on on the banks of the little river Bethune, 
with the friendly town of Dieppe two leagues in his rear. He 
seized the village of Arques, and employed his men to such 
good purpose that in three days his position was everywhere 
protected by a ditch at no place less than seven or eight feet in 
depth. In vain did the duke, with superior forces, attempt to 
dislodge him. Although the point of attack was more than 
once changed, and the mode of warfare varied from the simple 
use of artillery to the more exciting and perilous encounter in 
hand-to-hand combat, the Huguenots did not flinch. Nor were 
the Swiss less brave. It was the fortune of the mountaineers 
of the Alps, on this occasion as on others, to be represented by 
their soldiers on the side of the Protestant king as well as in 
the army of his opponents ; but the men of the Roman Cath- 
olic canton of Soleure, fighting under the banners of Henry, 
had the reputation of surpassing in valor their countrymen who 

1 " Vray et sommaire discours de ce qui s'est passe en 1'armce couduite par 
sa Majeste Treschrestienne, depuis son advenement a la Couronne jusques a 
la fin de Tan 1589," in Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 53-79 ; Recueil des choses 
memorables, 707 ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 217. 


fought in the ranks of the League. The Germans earned few 
laurels. A body of reiters in the service of the Duke of Mayenne 
not only played the traitors by making overtures to pass over to 
the royalist side, but, subsequently, thinking that they had com- 
mitted a blunder, and that the king was likely, after all, to prove 
the poorer master, betrayed him in turn, and went back to the 
service of the Duke of Mayenne. Three standards which they 
captured were the only trophies won by Mayenne. Even this 
small number, however, was turned to good account. Accom- 
panied by fifteen or more banners of the same general appear- 
ance, hastily prepared to order by the direction of the Duchess 
of Montpensier, the flags were soon after displayed at Paris, 
where they served the purpose of convincing the populace of 
that city that if Henry had thus far neither been driven into 
the sea nor captured, he yet had experienced an overwhelming 
defeat. The fraud was so successful that it was destined to be 
repeated on other occasions, though it may be doubted whether 
the results in the end paid for the misdirected ingenuity dis- 
played. However this may be, after a series of engagements, 
lasting through more than ten days from first to last, the Duke 
of Mayenne drew off his army in the direction of Picardy, os- 
tensibly with the view of seizing certains towns which he was 
bound by treaty to place in the hands of the Spaniard. 1 

Upon the Huguenot king the repulse of so greatly superior 
an army conferred all the advantages that would have been de- 
Henry returns rived from a victory in the open field. Henry was, 
toward Paris. ] 10wever? not CO ntent with the glory of the action, but 
resolved to strike a blow that might undeceive the credulous 
denizens of the capital. So it was that, late in the month of 
October, having called in the divisions of the Duke of Longue- 
ville and Marshal d'Aumont, and with an army re-enforced by 

1 See the detailed " Vray et sommaire discours," ubi supra; Recueil des 
choses memorables, 708-710; Memoires de Sully, c. 28; Agrippa dAubigne, 
Davila, etc. The Duke of Mayenne brought his forces before Arques on Wed- 
nesday, September 13th, and broke up his camp at midnight on Sunday, the 
24th of the same month. It was only, however, to make a circuit and return 
to the attack at another point, nearer Dieppe, on Tuesday, the 26th. He finally 
retreated on Thursday, October 5th. De Thou, vii. 550. 


the addition of four thousand Englishmen sent to him by Queen 
Elizabeth, under the command of Lord Willoughby, 1 the king 
again turned his face toward the heart of the realm. From 
Dieppe to Meulan his course lay north of the Seine, but no 
enemy dared oppose his progress. Then crossing the river, he 
pushed on to the vicinity of Paris. The last day of the month 
saw him in possession of the little village of Bagneux, scarcely 
more than a league south of the walls of Paris, while his 
troops were quartered in the neighboring villages of Montrouge, 
Gentilly, Issy, and Yaugirard — places which the great metrop- 
olis, in its rapid extension, has, within our own times, either 
actually absorbed within the network of its almost endless 
streets, or, at least, environed with its frowning forts. The 
same prince who, a little over two months before, had left St. 
Cloud and Meudon penniless, and with a diminutive army, was 
back again, flushed with success, accompanied by a respecta- 
ble force, and able to pay his way. Thanks to the generosity 
of Queen Elizabeth, Henry, who never remembered to have 
had a full exchequer, could boast the possession of over twenty 

1 De Thou (vii. 551) makes the commander to have been Roger Williams ; 
but Hume (History of England, chapter xliii.) is correct in stating that it was 
Lord Willoughby. In the " Memoires des sommes de deniers que la Reyne 
d'Angleterre aprestez ou desboursez pour le Roy Treschrestien," submitted to 
Henry's council, May 21, 1599, O. S., is the item : " 1589. Desbourse pour la 
despense et transport des soldatz envoyez au secours du Roy subs la conduicte 
du Baron de Willoughby. Lib. Sterl. 6,000. Scud. Franc. 20,000." Ed- 
mund Sawyer, Memorials of Affairs of State, i. 29. It will be seen that the 
French ecu, or crown, is here reckoned as the equivalent of six shillings ster- 
ling. As the lure was, at this time, worth one-third of the ecu, its equivalent 
was two shillings. The debasement of the circulating medium, it is well 
known, was much greater in France than in England. In the early part of 
the Middle Ages, a pound or livre, in both countries, represented a full 
pound's weight of pure silver. In England, by the time of Queen Elizabeth, 
a pound of silver had come to be coined into just three pounds sterling, or 
sixty shillings. Since Elizabeth's reign, the further decline has been very 
slight, the same quantity of the precious metal now producing a trifle over 
sixty-six shillings. But in France, at the outbreak of the Revolution, sev- 
enty-eight livres, or nominal pounds of account, were coined from a single 
pound of silver ! The depreciation of the currency had not advanced quite 
so far as this in the sixteenth century ; for a livre of the reign of Charles IX 
was worth nearly three of the livres of Louis XVI. 


thousand pounds sterling. It was, lie said, a greater sum than 
he had ever before seen. 1 

And now was the king able to deal a blow that tilled the 
hearts of his enemies with terror. Early the next morning, 
successful under cover of a thick fog that seemed to have come 
tSTrouthSn up purposely to conceal the advance of the royalists, 
suburbs. ^q Parisians learned, to their surprise, that Henry 
was assaulting the faubourgs or suburbs of their city with irre- 
sistible fury. Each of the three divisions into which the king 
had divided his army carried consternation before it ; but it 
was the corps under Francois de la Koue and Coligny's son 
that distinguished itself most by its valor, and executed the 
greatest carnage. The Huguenot soldiers, as they approached 
the scene of the treacherous massacre that had cost the lives of 
some of the noblest men of whom France had ever boasted, 
forgot that full seventeen years had elapsed since the ill-fated 
Sunday of August, and that they were fighting under the ban- 
ner, not of the great admiral himself, but of his eldest son. 
They only remembered that it was a Chatillon who led them, 
and that their battle-cry was " Saint Bartholomew ! " So it 
was that they drove the enemy to the very gate, and nearly fol- 
lowed in with the crowd of fugitives. Nor did the hero of the 
Iron Arm fail to make good his reputation for impetuous cour- 
age. On the river's bank, near the spot where now stands the 
Institut de France, the southern circuit of the walls ended in 
the strong Tour de Nesle. Here, intent only upon penetrating 
into the city, La None threw himself into the water, disdaining 
even to send a single soldier before him, and was recalled from 
his hazardous undertaking only by the express command of the 
king. As it was, what with the strength of the current and 
the little use to which his iron arm could be put in swimming, 
the Huguenot captain incurred as much danger of his life as 
he had encountered in a score of battle-fields. 

1 Hume, History of England, ubi supra. The prudent queen took good care 
to have security for her money. The " Memoire " above quoted has the entry 
of a loan of £22,350, made September 7, 1589, " preste sur l'obligation de 
Messieurs Beauvoir, Buhy, et Buzenval." 


After all, however, the destruction of some hundreds or 
thousands of lives ; the plundering of a host of houses, involv- 
ing the ruin of many a guiltless family — this was all the king 
accomplished. Even Sully could exclaim on this occasion : " I 
am weary of striking ; I cannot bring myself to kill any more 
people that do not defend themselves." Possibly a little more 
expedition on the part of the royalists in following up Sully 
and an adventurous party of fifteen or twenty that had actually 
pushed their way within the gate of Xesle, or greater prompt- 
ness in bringing up the cannon to batter down the gates else- 
where, might have enabled the king to master a part, or the 
whole, of the city. However, Henry was spared the perilous 
venture of forcing his way in. The Duke of Mayenne, hast- 
ening to the relief of the endangered capital, entered the city 
from the north ; and the king, having at least succeeded in 
making a diversion in favor of the loyal Picard nobles, drew off 
with an army laden with plunder. 1 lie had taken good c 
in the midst of the attack made upon Paris on All Saints' Day, 
to protect the Roman Catholic churches and monasteries froth 
insult. If we may credit the accounts that have come down to 
us, the ordinary services of one of the great ecclesiastical festi- 
vals not only proceeded unmolested in the midst of the confu- 
sion of an army engaged in pillage, but were attended by great 
numbers of captains and soldiers. 2 It was a part of Henry's 
policy to demonstrate his honest intention to guarantee the un- 
disturbed exercise of the worship of the great majority of his 
subjects. In no better way could he exhibit the unreasona- 
ble character of the fears entertained by the adherents of the 

There were those to whom the failure to make a vigorous 
attempt upon Paris was a serious disappointment. Henry's 
faithful Huguenot chaplain was of the number of these. Ga- 

1 Memoires de Sully, c. 29; Recueil des choses memorables, 710. 711 ; MY- 
moires de la Ligue, iv. 76, 77 ; Lestoile, ii. 7 ; Davila, 424, 425 , De Thou, 
vii. 551, 552; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 223-225; Histoire des derniers troub- 
les, ii. fol. 13. 

2 Davila, De Thou, etc., ubi supra. 


briel d' Amours, for a full year before the battle of Ivry, was 
the king's constant attendant and spiritual adviser, encouraging 
and admonishing him with all the boldness and fidelity of some 
Hebrew seer of the olden time. When the monarch and his 
army were besieged at Dieppe, twice did D' Amours visit him, 
early in the morning, before he was risen from bed, and exhort 
him to put his trust in God. " You will yet come forth from 
this tomb, 1 ' said he, " and you will give me an opportunity to 
sing, in the faubourgs of Paris, the song of Simeon : ; Lord, 
now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.'" But when the 
faubourgs were taken, while the king remembered distinctly 
enough the encouraging prediction, D' Amours saw plainly that 
for some reason his master was not inclined to pursue his ad- 
vantage and capture the city now apparently within his grasp. 
" Sire, all things are possible to God, and nothing is impossi- 
ble to the believer," said D'Amours. " I do what I can," was 
the only reply he could elicit from Henry. " Sire," exclaimed 
Gabriel, in the first sermon he preached, in the presence of all 
the gathered Huguenots, " you would not take Paris when God 
gave it to you ; one day you w T ill wish to take it and God will 
not give it to you. The fine army of French gentlemen which 
you would not use will melt away." 1 

While the Huguenot king, by word and by still more im- 
pressive acts, endeavored to dispel all sincere apprehension that 
License of might be cherished respecting his intentions, and while 
he League. j ie g ave ^- j^g lj ass0 ciates in arms, it must be con- 
fessed, just ground for complaint that the Roman Catholics were 
everywhere permitted to enjoy privileges denied, or grudgingly 
conceded, to the Protestants, no pretence of such moderation 
was exhibited upon the other side. The League and its follow- 

1 " Le premier presche que je fis apres, je vous dis devant tous, ' Vous ne 
l'avez voulu prendre quand Dieu la vous a donnee, vous la vouldrez prendre 
ung jour et il ne la vous donnera pas.' N'aviez-vous pas quatre mil gentils- 
hommes fran^ois devant Paris, une si belle et puissante armee laquelle vous 
fustes contraint licencier apres la venue du due de Parme ; ce que je vous 
avoy predit en preschant vous advint." Gabriel d Amours to Henry IV., 
June 20, 1593, Bulletin de la Societe de l'histoire du Protestantism e fran- 
cais, i. 283. 


ers raved not only against Protestantism, but against the royal 
authority, and even against every form of law and decency. 
All seemed intent to prove to the world the truth of the a 
tion made years before by the keen-sighted pope, now in the last 
year of his pontificate, that there was not a man among them 
who was moved by a sincere desire for the glory of God and 
the promotion of the true faith. 1 The personal jealousies be- 
tween the leaders were notorious. The followers of each nar- 
rowly and enviously watched the possible successes of all other 
and rival candidates for the first place. The mere circum- 
stance that Sixtus the Fifth, in the brief which he sent by the 
hands of Cajetan, the new papal legate, made no mention of 
the Cardinal of Bourbon, was sufficient to alienate many of the 
partisans of that prelate. 2 As if the claimants of the throne 
within the kingdom, with Philip of Spain outside of it, were 
not enough, and more than enough, for poor France, the Duke 
of Savoy deemed the proper moment to have arrived f<>r him 
to put forward his pretensions. Accordimrlv he l<»>t 

The Duke of r . . . . r . i 

savoy's pre- no time in sending a trustv servant with a mee 

tensions upon 1 t-»t i» t\ i « • • r • i • 

the French to the Parliament or Dauphin v, signifying hie re- 
crown. . , TT -t * c — , mi i 

quest to be recognized as Jving of r ranee, lhe let- 
ter making this modest suggestion contained an abundance of 
expressions of sorrow over the untimely death of Henry the 
Third, and set forth, in detail, the advantages which the g 
Catholics of France would reap from the accession of one, not 
only piously affected, but able, because of the proximity of his 
dominions and his military resources, supplemented, if need be, 
by the resources of his father-in-law, the King of Spain, t<> 
make good his claim by force of arms. Naturally, the duke 
did not fail to note the fact that, as a first cousin of Henry 
the Third, on his mother's side, he was justly entitled to the 
throne ; that monarch's nearest relatives having forfeited their 
rights by obstinate persistence in heresy, or by favoring here- 

1 See above, vol. i. chapter v. p. 305. 

2 De Thou, vii. 567, 568. The pope's missive was dated October ?. 
but the legate did not actually reach Paris until about the beginning of the 
next year. 


tics. The duke had hoped for a kindly hearing on the part of 
the judges, because of the strong attachment of many of their 
number to the ancient faith, and because of the devotion of the 
city of Grenoble, where the parliament held its sessions, to the 
opposition of League. But these sensible magistrates, while thank- 
mentof Gre- m » nnu profusely for his offers, referred the deci- 
nobie. s i 011 f s0 important a matter to the approaching 

states general. Meanwhile, they begged him not to think of 
entering their province, lest his coming might lead to the 
abrupt termination of a truce recently concluded between 
Ornano and Lesdiguieres, on behalf of the Roman Catholics 
and the Protestants respectively. 1 

We have seen the gentleness with which Henry the Fourth 

treated the Roman Catholics. What usage the Huguenots 

might have received at the hands of Charles Emman- 

petrated by uel, had he succeeded in persuading the Parliament of 

the duke's 

troops about Dauphiny and the rest of the Romanists of France 
to receive him, appears from the warfare which he 
suffered his troops to wage against the city of Geneva in the 
months of August and September, and to renew in the month 
of May of the following year. Of the ravages of war, in towns 
and villages plundered and then consigned to the flames, in 
human lives wantonly destroyed, history can give the statistics ; 
but there are details the knowledge of which is absolutely 
necessary for a full understanding of the course of events, but 
which are too horrible to be recorded. Forced to choose be- 
tween leaving his readers in partial ignorance of the enormity 
of the sins committed against God in the persons of the beings 
created in His image, and defiling his pages by a disgusting 
catalogue of crime, the historian feels himself instinctively com- 
pelled to prefer silence to a truthful but repulsive narration. 
Let those that will satisfy their curiosity on the subject and 
read for themselves the names of the unfortunate victims of 
cruelty and lust, peruse the contemporary treatises in which 
they are set forth with painful minuteness. Suffice it, for our 
purposes, to say that in the fourscore villages that fell beneath 

1 De Thou, vii. 579, 580. 


the power of the Duke of Savoy, neither age nor sex was re- 
spected, and that in the light of the magnitude of the atrocities 
perpetrated, death itself seemed the most tolerable of misfor- 
tunes. 1 

And what the Duke of Savoy's troops did about Geneva, 
other troops in the service of the League did in France itself, 
insults of- ^ ne lansquenets who escorted Cardinal Cajetan from 
iSate^s y es he Dij on to Paris thought themselves, by reason of that 
cort. very fact, relieved of all moral obligations. "It is 

impossible to express the excesses they committed along the 
whole way," writes the Roman Catholic De Thou. " The 
very churches were not sheltered from their insults. Although 
it was Lenten-tide, they did not hesitate openly to eat meat. 
They made a jest of the matter, saying that they could do so 
with a clear conscience, since they were bringing with them the 
Pope's legate. The cardinal, as they travelled, gave them 
absolution every day, and opened to them the treasuries of 
Heaven." 2 In fact, so far as the armies of the League were 
concerned, to use the words of the same impartial historian, 
" all the profligate wretches that could be found, all the persona 
who had reason to fear the rigor of justice, threw themselves 
into the party of the League, in the hope of the impunity which 
the preachers liberally promised them in their sermons/* 

Meanwhile, the fortunes of the Huguenot prince who. with 
so small a part of France decidedly supporting his rightful 
singular sur- claims to the throne, never despaired of ultimate snc- 
catue°of the cess, were visibly improving. In distant Provence, 
Touion. Bernard Nogaret de Yalette secured for him two 

or three important places. Among these the castle of Toulon 

1 De Thou, vii. 581-584, has given a brief account of this shocking episode 
of European history ; but the reader must examine for himself the " Discours 
sommaire de la guerre du due de Savoye contre Geneve,'' in the Memoires de 
la Ligue, iv. 732-743, and, especially, the " Bref et vrairecueil des horribles 
carnages perpetres de froid sang par l'es troupes du due de Savoye. a leurs en- 
trees tant du balliage de Gez, que du man dement de Gaillard," etc., ibid., iv. 
743-762. M. Gaberel, in his excellent Histoire de PEglise de Geneve, has 
reprinted these accounts in great part, 

2 De Thou, vii. 598. 3 Ibid., vii. 587. 


was taken by one of the most singular of the many remarkable 
devices resorted to in this treacherous period of civil war. The 
castle was held for the Duke of Savoy, but the unsuspecting 
commandant not only cultivated the acquaintance of his neigh- 
bor, La Y alette, but had shown him over the entire fortifications. 
This courtesy emboldened La Valette to request permission, 
which was readily granted, for a friend, one Montault, to en- 
joy the same privilege. Accordingly, Montault presented him- 
self at the gate, accompanied by a score of men with weapons 
well concealed beneath their clothes. This escort he left just 
without the entrance, ostensibly to await his return ; but he 
had himself gone only a few steps into the castle, when, feign- 
ing a sudden illness, he fell at full length upon the ground. At 
the sight of a man apparently in the last agonies of death, the 
castle guards forsook their post and ran to his assistance. It 
was the expected signal. The band of royalists rushed in. 
Montault aroused himself from his assumed stupor, and drew 
out his sword. In a few moments all was over. The guards, 
paralyzed with astonishment, were easily overpowered, and paid 
with their lives the penalty of their too great humanity. La 
Valette, who was lurking in the vicinity, was admitted with his 
troops. The castle was won. 1 

Happily, the more essential gains were made by Henry him- 
self and in less reprehensible ways. The king could now afford 
substantial to leave for a time the immediate vicinity of the cap- 
Henry's first ital, where he had proved himself to be no despicable 
ampaign. £ oe ^ an( j j^Qp to strengthen his cause elsewhere. 
Turning southward and westward, he successively made himself 
master of Etampes, of Chateaudun, and of Vendome, and en- 
tered Tours, the seat of the loyal parliament transferred from 
Paris, amid demonstrations of universal joy. As at Chateaudun 
he had received the deputies of the Swiss cantons, coming to 
renew their league with the French crown, so at Tours he gave 
audience to Mocenigo, the Venetian ambassador, bringing him 
the first recognition on the part of a foreign state of Henry's 
authority as King of France. Then passing to the north, the 

1 De Thou, vii. 584, 585. 


important cities of Alencon, Argentan, Domfront, Falaise, 
Lisieux, Pont-Audemer, Pont-1'Eveque, Bayeux, and Honfleur 
opened their gates, without very serious opposition, to his tri- 
umphant advance. Before many weeks, Henry had added to 
his actual domain several of the provinces of central France 
and a good part of Kormandy. 1 

A clear and vigorous writer, whose history of the reign of 
Henry the Fourth throws fresh light upon this important 
period — Auguste Poirson — has made an approximate estimate 
of the ground the Huguenot king had gained during the few 
months that had elapsed since his accession. When the last 
Valois prince had been put out of the way by the dagger of 
Jacques Clement, his successor's claims to the throne were 
recognized by barely one-sixth part of France. It is true that 
it would be a mistake to suppose that all the remainder held 
for the League. Yet, even with the addition of such neutral 
cities and territories as Bordeaux and Guyenne, which still af- 
fected to use the name and the seal of the deceased monarch 
as in an interregnum, only about one-half of the 

Division of . _ . _ _ , . r i t • 

France be- population and one-halt or the territory or the king- 
and the dom opposed the schemes of Mayenne and Philip the 

Second. It was, however, Henry's good fortune to 
hold effectually in his grasp the river Loire, which divides 
France in two; for of all the bridges and crossings which 
must be used in passing between the northern and southern 
banks, only the city of Orleans was in the possession of the 
opposite party. 2 But now, the victories at Arques, followed 
by the successful march of six hundred miles, had confirmed 
the king's authority in eight contiguous and powerful prov- 

1 De Thou, vii. 585-588 ; Recueil des choses meruorables, 714, 715 ; IK- 
moires de la Ligue, iv. 188, etc. 

2 "Que cette ville (Orleans) seule servoit de passage a ceux de la Ligue sur 
la riviere de Loire, qui traversoit, voire divisoit presque tout le royauine do 
France, tous les autres ponts et passages qui estoient sur ladite riviere jusques 
a Nantes, estans en Fobeissance de sa Majeste. De sorte que ceux de la Ligue 
n'avoient que le pont seul d'Orleans pour traverser d'une part a l'autre de la 
France, qui estoit peu et beaucoup incommode, pour se seeourir les un< les 
autres quand le besoin le requereroit." Memoires de Nevers, ii. 408. 


inces, 1 and — which was equally important to the necessitous 
prince — had made him master of resources that would bring 
him in two million crowns a year. It was not less significant of 
future success, that the clemency and toleration avowed and 
The high practised by Henry had won over to his side the 
supportlhe 5 g reat majority of the higher ecclesiastics of the Ko- 
king - man Catholic Church itself. While the curates, for 

the most part, and the monks, with few exceptions, were ardent 
and fanatical adherents of the League, one hundred out of the 
one hundred and eighteen bishops and archbishops of the king- 
dom espoused the monarch's side within the three months fol- 
lowing his accession. 2 Ko stronger proof could be advanced 
of the amplitude of the guarantees given by Henry the Fourth 
to the Roman Catholic Church, and the faithfulness wdth which, 
those guarantees were observed by him. 

Meantime Paris had been a theatre of discord. The " Six- 
teen " had in the first instance taken advantage of the losses 
contention sustained by the Duke of Mayenne about Arques and 
- e sbc e teen" e Dieppe to strengthen their own faction. Parliament 
and Mayenne. was a g a j n i nva ded by insolent men, and its authority 
reduced to naught. Scenes of robbery and assassination were 
again witnessed. In the u Council of the Union," preparations 
were on foot to make a virtual surrender of France to Philip 
the Second, but the plan was cleverly thwarted by Mayenne 
when he secured the solemn recognition of Cardinal Bourbon 
as king under the title of " Charles the Tenth," and of himself 
as the phantom king's lieutenant-general. To exclude Spanish 

1 lie de France, Picardy, Champagne, Normandy, Orleanois, Touraine, 
Maine and Anjou. 

2 Poirson, Histoire du rcgne de Henri IV., i. 50, 51, 148, 157, 158. " Car 
s'il faut esplucher les choses," wrote a pamphleteer about the close of the year, 
" de cent ou six vingts evesques et archevesques qui sont au royaume de 
France, il n'y en a pas la dixiesme qui approuve les conseils de l'TJnion." 
Ttesponse a un avis qui conseille aux Francois de se rendre sous la protection 
du roy d'Espagne, printed in Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 199. The Dialogue 
du Manant et du Maheustre, published about three or four years later, more 
distinctly states the royalist prelates as consisting of 11 archbishops and 89 
bishops, and the opposite party as composed of 3 archbishops and 15 bishops, 
*' encore des moindres." 

Vol. IL— 13 


pretensions still more completely, the pope was declared sole 
protector of France, and the very " Council of the Union " was 
replaced by a " State Council " attached to the duke's person.' 

Upon one point, however, the adherents of the League seemed 
at this time to be almost unanimous — Henry the Fourth must 
not be permitted in any way to obtain a decent excuse for he- 
coming a Roman Catholic, or be recognized as king, even should 
he simulate conversion. Villeroy, alone, gave Mayenne some 
sound advice — which the duke took good care not to follow 
and held up to him the imperishable glory he would acquire In- 
becoming the author of a blessed peace throughout France." 
But the papal legate, Cardinal Caietan, effectually 

The legate * 

forbids the precluded the possibilitv of a consummation devoutly 

bishops from - 1 ir-ii i i • i tt ° 

assembling at prayed for by honest men on both sides. Henry the 
Fourth had ordered the convocation of the states o:en- 
eral to take place at Tours in the coming month of March, with 
a special view to the conference of the archbishops and bishops 
in a national council, to deliberate respecting the means of the 
king's conversion. But the legate, on the first day of the 
month that should have witnessed their gathering, addressed to 
each of the French prelates a letter in which he not only pro- 
tested against the validity of a meeting called by a prince un- 
authorized to perform such an act, but declared in advance any 
decisions it might reach to be null and void. If Henry of 
Bourbon, " self-styled King of France," was sincerely desirous 
of returning to the Catholic faith, there were sufficient of doctors 
and preachers in Paris competent to instruct him without put- 
ting so many bishops to the trouble of coming together. If. on 
the other hand, it was contemplated to enter into a discu- 
on points of controversy between the Romish Church and the 
synagogue of Calvin, this was but giving the advantage to here- 
tics and making a mock of religion. He, consequently, forbade 

1 For these events I must refer the reader to the admirably clear narrative 
of M. Poirson. 

2 See u Advis de M. de Villeroy a M. le due de Mayenne," an important pa- 
per appended to the Memoires de Villeroy (Collection Midland et Poujoulat , 
225. It was written and handed to Mayenne about the close of the year 1 ~> s '.< 
Ibid., 147. 


the prelates from going to Tours, and, in the name of his master, 
proclaimed all that should persist in proceeding thither to be 
excommunicated and deposed. 1 

The audacious act of the presuming foreigner effectually 

prevented the assembly of Tours, and indefinitely postponed the 

pacification of France. As pontifical legate he had 

cardinal claimed, in the document just referred to, the exclu- 


sive right of calling together the French prelates at 
his good pleasure. In fact, his whole course of conduct testi- 
fied to an overweening estimate of his importance. It was char- 
acteristic of the man's arrogance that, on the occasion of his 
formal reception by the parliament, he proceeded straightway 
to the corner of the hall always reserved for royalty, and was 
about to take possession of the king's place, when the patriotic 
and somewhat indignant first president laid forcible hands upon 
him, and compelled him to accept a more humble seat by his 
own side. 2 It was the same impetuosity that led Cajetan to go 
far beyond his instructions and throw in his lot distinctly with 
the League. Sixtus the Fifth had certainly contemplated no 
such thing. Anxious only to side with that party which should 
prove the stronger, 3 he was resolved that his legate should act 
with the utmost circumspection. As it was, some thought it a 
fortunate circumstance for Cajetan that Sixtus was dead by the 
time the returning legate again reached Rome ; else the pope 
would have had him beheaded for kindling the fire of sedition, 
contrary to his express commands. 4 

Henry, after his successful march through ^Normandy, again 
began to approach Paris. Early in the month of March, 1590, 

having relieved the garrison of Meulan, bravely de- 
Henry lays ° ° . . J 

siege to tended tor many days against a superior attacking 

force, the king found himself near the spot where, 
about twenty-seven years before, the Huguenots under Conde 
and Coligny had fought their first pitched battle with the Roman 
Catholics, commanded by Constable Montmorency, Francis of 

1 Lestoile, ii. 12 ; De Thou, vii. (liv. 98) 605, 606. 

* Lestoile, ii. 11 ; De Thou, vii. 602. 

3 De Thou, vii. 601. 4 Lestoile, ii. 35. 


Guise, and Marshal Saint Andre. 1 In laying siege to the citv 
of Dreux, it was Henry's purpose to cut off one of the principal 
sources of supply for the capital, whose inhabitants were already 
chafing under the interruption of their communications with the 
upper Seine and Marne. The Duke of Mayenne found himself 
compelled by the urgency of the Parisians to go to the rescue. 
On his approach, the king, who desired nothing better than an 
opportunity to meet his enemies on the open field, promptly 
raised the siege and prepared for a conflict which he hoped 
might prove decisive. 

The battle of Ivry, fought on Wednesday, the fourteenth of 
March, 1590, is one of those great days in the history of the 
The battle of wor ^ whose occurrences, even to the smallest details, 
i4 r "i59o arch are °^ i nterest ? an d have been frequently told. There 
is perhaps no military engagement, within the bounds 
of the sixteenth century, a careful examination of which will bet- 
ter repay the student of the art of war. The disparity between 
the armies was considerable. Mayenne's troops numbered six- 
teen thousand men, of whom twelve thousand were foot soldiers 
and four thousand cavalry. Henry had but eight thousand foot 
soldiers and two thousand two hundred cavalry, or a little over 
ten thousand men in all. Of this number a part had but just 
reached him the day before the battle, and a part came up 
when the forces were already drawn out on the field. Even 
thus, however, Henry commanded not far from twice the num- 
ber he had led, two years and a half before, at Coutras ; while 
Mayenne's forces exceeded by almost a half the whole assem- 
blage of men engaged on both sides upon that eventful day. 

Each of the two armies had its own advantages. The body 
of horse brought by Count Egmont from the Netherlands was 
a formidable detachment. That their leader, degenerate son of 
a noble father, was fighting under the banners of the assassin of 
that father, detracted neither from his courage nor from theirs. 
Fifteen hundred of his followers were armed with the lance, a 
weapon before which scarcely anything could stand when there 
was sufficient room for a deliberate charge. On the other hand, 

1 See Rise of the Huguenots, ii. 93. 

1590. THE BATTLE OF IVRY. 197 

the two thousand French horsemen serving under their king pre- 
sented a sight that called forth admiration from friend and from 
foe. Composed of the picked nobility of the realm, and armed 
cap-a-pie, they had no counterpart in the opposed ranks. If 
with Mayenne's cavalry there was more gold and glitter, with 
Henry's knights there was more steel. To the former it was of 
the utmost consequence that there should be ample space be- 
tween the armies ; to the latter, who had long since discarded 
the lance and relied upon the pistol and the sword as their 
weapons of offence, it was of equal importance to come into 
close quarters, where the arms of their opponents, after the 
force of the first onset was spent, were well-nigh useless. 

On the side of the Huguenot king there was brave Gabriel 
d' Amours, a preacher who knew how to fight as well as how to 
exhort, and a favorite minister of his majesty. His prayer be- 
fore the charge at Coutras had, as we have seen, deeply im- 
pressed both Protestant and Roman Catholic, and one noble- 
man who had been in the opposite ranks, but was now about 
to fight for Henry, had, on the eve of the battle of Ivry, 
begged the king for the ministrations, in the sight of the two 
armies, of that Huguenot pastor who was believed to have cast 
a potent spell over the army of Joyeuse at Coutras, and the 
army of Mayenne at Arques. 1 The League, too, had its sup- 
posed magician — a monk, who, we are told, was put forward 
by the Walloon troops of Egmont, clothed in priestly robes, and 
holding a St. Andrew's cross. He had promised his compa- 
triots to curse the heretics so effectually that they would turn 
to flight without striking a blow. But, at the first sign of a 
charge on the part of the enemy, the poor ecclesiastic threw 
down his cross upon the ground, and fled in abject fear. 2 
However it may have been with his opponents, Henry of Na- 
varre was not content to delegate to another the duty of offer- 
ing supplications in his behalf. If we may believe one who 
must speak from personal knowledge, the Bourbon prince, 
strange compound of devotion and of worldliness, spent almost 

1 See above, volume i. chapter vii. p. 432. 

2 Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 230. 


the whole of the night preceding an engagement, which he 
rightly judged likely to prove of critical importance to his for- 
tunes, in prayers — not merely prayers offered in his presence, 
but offered by himself. 1 Such of his followers as could not 
join in such worship he cheerfully permitted to go to their 
priests, or to implore the favor of Heaven upon his arms in 
whatever way they might prefer. 

And now his opportunity was come. The field had been 
carefully explored, the position of each corps in the coming 
conflict precisely defined. The royal line was but slightly 
curved. The extreme left was occupied by a squadron of 
three hundred horse, under Marshal d'Aumont, flanked on 
either side by a body of French infantry. At a very brief 
interval came the second squadron of three hundred horse, 
under the Duke of Montpensier, with a body of five hundred 
lansquenets on the left and a Swiss regiment on the right, and 
these again flanked by French infantry. This formed the left 
wing of the main line. Some fifty paces in advance of this was 
thrown forward the squadron of two hundred and fifty horse, 
under command of the Baron Biron, son of the aged marshal of 
that name, to whom, as will be seen, an important trust was con- 
fided elsewhere upon the field. He was supported by eight hun- 
dred infantry. On the same line was drawn up the fourth squad- 
ron, composed of two bodies of two hundred light horsemen 
each, under the young Count Givrv and the young Count of Au- 
vergne respectively. Between this squadron and that of Baron 
Biron had been posted the effective artillery of the king, con- 
sisting of four larger pieces and two culverins. Henry himself 
commanded the fifth squadron, occupying the centre of the main 
line, and composed of six hundred horsemen — the v^ry flower 
of the Huguenots and of the French noblesse. Like the other 
squadrons, it had a support of infantry on either side — first, two 
regiments of Swiss, and, beyond these, two regiments of French 
soldiers. The sixth squadron was that under command of old 

1 " Presque toute la nuict le Roi, apprehendant cette bataille, fut en pri- 
eres, lesqnelles il faisoit lui-rnesmes, et envoioit ceux qui n'y vouloient pas 
assister," etc. Agrippa d'Aubign< ; , iii. '229. 


Marshal Biron, the father, two hundred and fifty horse strong, 
and with a Swiss regiment on either flank ; bat Biron had 
been purposely thrown somewhat to the rear, and was in- 
structed to abstain from the engagement until his reserve force 
might be needed to decide the fortunes of the day. The two 
hundred and fifty German horse of Count Schomberg consti- 
tuted the seventh squadron, and occupied the extreme right. 

In no great battle of the sixteenth century, perhaps — cer- 
tainly in no battle wherein the Huguenots took part — had more 
care been displayed in arranging the troops to the utmost ad- 
vantage. The different divisions, while offering no dangerous 
gaps for attacks, were yet sufficiently far apart to allow free- 
dom of action. The horsemen were marshalled, not in the 
dense columns which experience had found unserviceable, but 
in five ranks. The cannon had been assigned a position from 
which they could strike terror and create confusion. Every- 
thing that human foresight could provide had been disposed, 
even to the injunction given to the soldiers that, in case of sep- 
aration from their comrades, they should instantly make their 
way to the rallying-point, for the locality of which three pear- 
trees, standing out conspicuous upon the plain, on the right, 
were to serve as the convenient indication. 

The army of the League, of which the Duke of Nemours 
commanded the right wing, and the Chevalier d'Aumale the 
left, with the Duke of Mayenne himself in the centre, was 
drawn up somewhat after the same fashion, so far as the distri- 
bution of the infantry was concerned ; but the line was made 
decidedly a crescent, and the imperfect vision of the near- 
sighted Yiscount of Tavannes, upon whom the task of arrang- 
ing the horse upon the field of battle had devolved, led him to 
commit the fatal blunder of crowding the different corps. Not 
only were there no open spaces for the execution of contem- 
plated manoeuvres, but the slightest divergence to right or left 
compelled horse and foot to jostle and interfere with each 

The superior skill displayed in the arrangement of the Hu- 
guenot king's army certainly contributed quite as much as the 
valor of his followers to the subsequent victory. Nor did the 


caution which was as much a characteristic of Henry's mode of 
warfare as his reckless courage in the actual conflict, forsake 
him when on the very eve of engaging the foe. As he ad- 
vanced his forces a hundred and fifty paces or so, to bring 
them nearer to the lines of the reluctant enemy, he also shifted 
his position, so as to relieve his men of the glare of the sun 
in their eyes, and prevent the smoke from rolling back upon 

The battle began with a furious cannonade from the king's 
artillery, so prompt that nine rounds of shot had been fired be- 
fore the enemy were ready to reply, so well directed that great 
havoc was made in the opposing lines. Xext, the light horse 
of M. de Rosne, upon the extreme right of the Leaguers, made 
a dash upon Marshal d'Aumont, but were valiantly received. 
Their example was followed by the German reiters, who threw 
themselves upon the defenders of the king's artillery and upon 
the light horse of Aumont, who came to their relief ; then, 
after their customary fashion, wheeled around, expecting to pass 
easily through the gaps between the friendly corps of Mayenne 
and Egmont and to reload their firearms at their leisure in the 
rear, by way of preparation for a second charge. Owing to the 
blunder of Tavannes, however, they met a serried line of horse, 
where they looked for an open field, and the Walloon cavalry 
found themselves compelled to set their lances in threatening 
position to ward off the dangerous onset of their retreating 
allies. Another charge, made by a squadron of the Walloon 
lancers themselves, was bravely met by Baron Biron. His ex- 
ample was imitated by the Duke of Montpensier farther down 
the field. Although the one leader was twice wounded and the 
other had his horse killed under him, both ultimately succeeded 
in repulsing the enemy. 

It was about this time that the main body of Henry's horse 
became engaged with the gallant array of cavalry in their front. 
Mayenne had placed upon the left of his squadron a body of 
four hundred mounted carabineers. These, advancing first, rode 
rapidly toward the king's line, took aim, and discharged their 
weapons with deadly effect within twenty-five paces. Immedi- 
ately afterward the main force of eighteen hundred lancers 

1690. THE BATTLE OF IVRY. 201 

presented themselves. The king had fastened a great white 
plume to his helmet, and had adorned his horse's head with 
another equally conspicuous. " Comrades ! " he now exclaimed 
to those about him, " Comrades ! God is for us ! There are 
His enemies and ours ! If you lose sight of your standards, 
rally to my white plume ; you will find it on the road to victory 
and to honor." The Huguenots had knelt after their fashion ; 
again Gabriel d'Amours had offered for them a prayer to the 
God of battles ; but no Joyeuse dreamed of suspecting that they 
were meditating surrender or flight. The king, with the brave 
Huguenot minister's prediction of victory still ringing in his ears, 1 
plunged into the thickest of the fight, two horses' length ahead 
of his companions. That moment he forgot that he was King 
of France and general-in-chief, both in one, and fought as if lie 
were a private soldier. It was, indeed, a bold venture. True, 
the enemy, partly because of the confusion induced by the reit- 
ers, partly from the rapidity of the king's movements, had lost 
in some measure the advantage they should have derived from 
their lances, and were compelled to rely mainly upon their 
swords as against the firearms of their opponents. Still, they 
outnumbered the knights of the king's squadron more than as 
two to one. No wonder that some of the latter flinched and 
actually turned back ; 2 especially when the standard-bearer of 
the king, receiving a deadly wound in the face, lost control of 
his horse, and went riding aimlessly about the field, still grasp- 
ing the banner in grim desperation. But the greater number 
emulated the courage of their leader. The white plume kept 
them in the road to victory and to honor. Yet even this beacon 
seemed at one moment to fail them. Another cavalier, who had 
ostentatiously decorated his helmet much after the same fashion 
as the king, was slain in the hand-to-hand conflict, and some, 

1 " A la bataille d'lvry vous me fistes faire la priere. Je vous dys que Dieu 
vous donneroit la victoire." D'Amours to Henry IV., June 20, 1593, Bulletin 
de la Societe de l'histoire du Protestantisme francais, i. 283. 

2 "Vous donnastes dans un gros de douse ou quinse cents lances mal suivi 
des vostres, car plusieurs de vostre gros tournerent visage." Ibid., ubi supra. 
So Sully's secretaries write: "Plusieurs de l'escadron du Roy s'enfuirent, et 
quasi toute la main gauche d'iceluy." Memoires de Sully, c. 30. 


both of the Huguenots and of their enemies, for a time sup- 
posed the great Protestant champion himself to have fallen. 

But, although fiercely contested, the conflict was not long. 
The troopers of Mayenne wavered, and finally fled. Henry of 
Navarre emerged from the confusion, to the great relief of his 
anxious followers, safe and sound, covered with dust and blood 
not his own. More than once he had been in great personal 
peril. On his return from the melee, he halted, with a hand- 
ful of companions, under the pear-trees indicated beforehand 
as a rallying-point, when he was descried and attacked by three 
bands of Walloon horse that had not yet engaged in the fight. 
Only his own valor and the timely arrival of some of his troops 
saved the imprudent monarch from death or captivity. 

The rout of Mayenne's principal corps was quickly followed 
by the disintegration of his entire army. The Swiss auxiliaries 
of the League, though compelled to surrender their flags, were, 
as ancient allies of the crown, admitted to honorable terms of 
capitulation. To the French who fell into the king's hands he 
was equally clement. Indeed, he spared no efforts to save their 
lives. 1 But it was otherwise with the German lansquenets. 
Their treachery at Arques, where they had pretended to come 
over to the royal side only to turn upon those who had believed 
their protestations and welcomed them to their ranks, wa> vet 
fresh in the memory of all. They received no mercy at the 
king's hands. 2 

Gathering his available forces together, and strengthened hv 
the accession of old Marshal Biron, who had been compelled, 

1 "Et est une chose digne vraiment de notre roi, que dedans la melee il 
avait cette parole souvent en la bouche, que Ton dpargnat Le Bang dee Francaia 
le plusqu'il serait possible." Lettres d'Etienne Pasquier (Ed. Feogero), ii. :>4:V 
According to the same writer, an officious valet having next day brought out 
the sword Henry had used in the battle, still bloody and dented, with parti- 
cles of flesh and hair yet clinging to it, the prince at once commanded him 
to take out of his sight so palpable a mark of the horrors of war. 

2 Among many others, Gabriel d'Amours refers to this circumstance : U J* 
vous dys au champ de bataille, les Suisses n'estant encor rondos, lors qu'on 
tuoit des lansquenetz au coing d'ung boys pource qu'ils nous avoyent Iraki a 
Arques." Bulletin de la Societe de 1 histoire du Protestantism 

i. 283. 

1590. THE BATTLE OF IVRY. 203 

much against his will, to remain a passive spectator while others 
fought, Henry pursued the remnants of the army of the League 
many a mile to Mantes and the banks of the Seine. 1 If their 
defeat by a greatly inferior force had been little to the credit 
of either the generals or the troops of the League, their precipi- 
tate flight was still less decorous. The much- vaunted Flemish 
lancers distinguished themselves, it was said, by not pausing until 
they found safety beyond the borders of France, and Mayenne, 
never renowned for courage, emulated or surpassed them in the 
eagerness he displayed, on reaching the little town from which 
the battle took its name, to put as many leagues as possible 
between himself and his pursuers. "The enemy thus ran 
away," says the Englishman William Lyly, who was an eye-wit- 
ness of the battle ; " Mayenne to Ivry, where the Walloons and 
reiters followed so fast that there standing, hasting to draw 
breath, and not able to speak, he was constrained to draw his 
sword to strike the flyers to make place for his own flight. " 2 

1 The most full and accurate account of the hattle of Ivry is undoubtedly 
the " Discours veritable de la victoire obtenue par le Roy en la bataille donne 
pres le village d'Yri i^Yvry), le quatorziesme jour de Mars 1590 " (Memoires de 
la Ligue, iv. 254-271), an official paper written, it is known, by one of the 
king's secretaries, M. de Fresne, sieur de Forget, for immediate publication. 
It is the " discours " referred to by Henry himself in his letter of March 25th, 
to M. de Luxembourg (Lettres missives, iii. 183, 184), as prepared by his orders 
and accompanying his letter. The descriptions in the Recueil des choses 
memorables (Histoire des cinq rois), 716-720, and in Matthieu, Histoire des 
derniers troubles, liv. 5, fols. 16-20, are mere abridgments of the same, in 
great part reproducing the very words. Duplessis Mornay's Memoire was 
written on the 16th of March, and contains general impressions of great 
value (Memoires, iv. 473-477). Henry the Fourth's own letters, of March 14th 
and 25th, are of prime importance (Lettres missives, iii. 162 and 183). The let- 
ter of Longueville toNevers, of March 17th (Memoires de Nevers, ii. pref.), con- 
tains some particulars which an official account would scarcely be expected to 
insert. See, also, Memoires de Sally, c. 30 ; De Thou, vii. 609-619 ; Agrippa 
d'Aubigne, iii. 228-233 ; Davila, 443-449 ; and Marshal Biron's letter to M. 
du Haillan, written from Mantes, March 24, 1590, printed in Daniel, Histoire 
de France, xi. 587-591. In this he remarks: " L'on me met de ceux qui ont 
part a la victoire, encores que je n'aye combattu." 

* I am indebted for this quotation to Mr. Motley (United Netherlands, iii 
56), whose narrative of the battle is a beautiful example of the great his- 
torian's characteristic brilliancy of description. Among the conflicting state- 


The battle had been a short one. Between ten and eleven 
o'clock the first attack was made ; in less than an hour the army 
Brilliant sue- of the League was routed. 1 It had been a glorious 

cess of Henry. ac ^ on f Qr ^} ie ^[ n g an( J ^ g Q \^ Huguenots, aild UOt 

less for the loyal Roman Catholics who clung to him. None 
seemed discontented but old Marshal Biron, who, when he met 
the king coming out of the fray with battered armor and blunted 
sword, could not help contrasting the opportunity his majesty 
had enjoyed to distinguish himself with his own enforced in- 
activity, 2 and exclaimed : "Sire, this is not right! You have 
to-day done what Biron ought to have done, and he has done 
what the king should have done." J But even Biron was unable 
to deny that the success of the royal arms surpassed all expec- 
tation, and deserved to rank among the wonders of history. 
The preponderance of the enemy in numbers had been great. 
There was no question that the impetuous attacks of their cav- 
alry upon the left wing of the king were for a time almost 
successful. The official accounts might conveniently be silent 
upon the point, but the truth could not be disguised that at 
the moment Henry plunged into battle a part of his line was 
grievously shaken, a part was in full retreat, and the prospect 
was dark enough. Some of his immediate followers, indeed, 
at this time turned countenance and were disposed to flee, where- 
upon he recalled them to their duty with the words: "Look 
this way, in order that, if you will not fight, at least yon may 

merits that have come down to us respecting the incidents of a somewhat 
intricate engagement, it is not strange that Mr. Motley seems to have fallen 
into a few mistakes. I need only refer here to the confusion of the names of 
Baron Biron and his father. When the writer says that the heavy troop 
Flanders and Hainault dashed upon old Marshal Biron, routing hi* cavalry, 
charging clean up to the Huguenot guns and sabring the cannoneers, he for- 
gets that that veteran officer was in reality on a distant part of the field, chafing 
under the orders that forbade him from bringing his reserves into the action. 

1 Henry IV. to the Mayor of Langres, March 14, 1590, Memoires de la Ligue, 
iv. 274. 

2 " J'oubliois a vous dire qu'il y aeubeaucoup de cavalerie, ou commandoit 
M. le Mareschal de Biron, qui ne combattit point. " Letter of M. de Longneville, 
ubi supra. " Le Mareschal de Biron avec deux cents homines de reserve 
n'avoit point combatu." Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 232. 

3 Perefixe, 118. 

1590. THE BATTLE OF IVRY. 205 

see me die." ' But the steady and determined courage of the 
king, well seconded by soldiers not less brave, turned the tide 
of battle. " The enemy took flight," says the devout Duplessis 
Mornay, " terrified rather by God than by men ; for it is cer- 
tain that the one side was not less shaken than the other." a 
And with the flight of the cavalry, Mayenne's infantry, com 
sti tuting, as has been seen, three-fourths of his entire army, gave 
up the day as lost, without striking a blow for the cause they 
had come to support. How many men the army of the League 
lost in killed and wounded it is difficult to say. The Prince of 
Parma reported to his master the loss of two hundred and sev- 
enty of the Flemish lancers, together with their commander, the 
Count of Egmont. The historian De Thou estimates the entire 
number of deaths on the side of the League, including the 
combatants that fell in the battle and the fugitives drowned at 
the crossing of the river Eure, by Ivry, at eight hundred. The 
official account, on the other hand, agrees with Marshal Biron 
in stating that of the cavalry alone more than fifteen hundred 
died, and adds that four hundred were taken prisoners ; while 
Davila swells the total of the slain to the incredible sum of up- 
ward of six thousand men. 3 

Resting his pursuit at Posny for the night, Henry retired, 
with a very few of his followers, into a private chamber and 
rendered thanks to God Almighty for so signal a victory. 
" What think you of our work ? " he asked his faithful Duples- 
sis Mornay. " You have done the bravest act of folly that ever 
was," replied the secretary ; " for you have risked your king- 
dom on a throw of dice. But you have had the opportunity to 

1 Etienne Pasquier, Lettres (CEuvres choisies), ii. 342. M. de Longueville 
is even more candid. He represents the king, at the moment of charging 
Mayenne, as having seen "toute son avant-garde ebranslee." Memoires de 
Nevers, ubi supra. According to the military nomenclature of the times, the left 
wing, under Montpensier, etc., constituted the "avant-garde," the centre and 
right wing, the "bataille." Pierre Corneio says of the forces of the League : 
" Dieu rabaissa tellement en un instant leur esperance, qu'en un quart d'heure 
ils furent quasi maistres du champ, et en demi-quart d'heure depuis mis en 
route et vaincus." Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 297. 

8 Memoires de Duplessis Mornay, iv. 475. 

3 Motley, De Thou, Discours veritable, Davila, Biron, etc., ubi supra. 


learn that the lot is in God's hands, and the results must in 
very deed be devoted to Him. Meantime, we all swear to fight 
for your preservation; but we demand of you another oath to 
secure our own safety — that henceforth you never to 
fight in person." ' 

That very evening the Bearnais wrote an account of his ex- 
ploit to the faithful Mayor of Langres. " It has pleased God," 
Henry's own he said, " to grant me what most I desired — the op- 
portunity to offer battle to my enemies, being confi- 
dent that he would give me the victory, as has happened to-day. 

A battle has taken place, in which dud lias been pie 
to make known that His protection is ever on the side of right : 
for in less than an hour after the enemy vented upon me I 
wrath, in two or three charges made and sustained by them, all 
their cavalry began to despair, abandoning their entire infan- 
try, which was very numerous. Seeing this their Swiss had 
recourse to my mercy and surrendered — colonels, captain.-, sol- 
diers, and all their standards. The lansquenets and French 
footmen had no leisure to come to this resolution ; for there 
were cut to pieces more than twelve hundred of each, while the 
rest were taken prisoners or driven into the woods at the mercy 
of the peasantry. Of their cavalry nine hundred to a thousand 
were killed, and four or five hundred unhorsed or made prison- 
ers, without reckoning their valets, who are in great number.-. 
or those that were drowned at the crossing of the river Kim*. 
. . . The white ensign [the standard of the commanding 
general] has fallen into my hands, together with the officer who 
carried it; also, twelve or fifteen other colors of cavalry and 
twice that number of colors of infantry, all the artillery and 
countless lords taken prisoners. . . . It is a miraculous 
work of God, who preserved me, and vouchsafed to give me this 
resolution to attack them, and then the grace to be able to carry 
it out so happily. His alone is the glory, while that part which 
by permission may belong to men, is due to the princes, officers 
of the crown, lords and captains of all the noblesse that flocked 

1 Memoires de Madame de Mornav (Edition of the Historical Society of 
France), 192. 

1590. THE BATTLE OF IVRY. 207 

hither with snch eagerness, and deported themselves so success- 
fully that their ancestors have left no more beautiful examples 
of heroism than they will leave to their posterity." ] 

Had Henry and his victorious army pushed on at once to 

the capital, instead of pausing at Mantes, as they did, for a 

whole fortnight, there is everv reason to believe that 

The king fails _ 111' i • " -1 • i 

to push his Paris would have opened its gates at their approach, 
and the war would have been virtually ended. 2 The 
League was overwhelmed with terror; the army was either de- 
stroyed or utterly demoralized. No prompt assistance could be 
expected from any quarter. The disaster which had befallen 
the Flemish auxiliaries, with the death of their young and arro- 
gant leader, discredited for the time even the ability of Spain 
to rescue its French allies. The secret partisans of Henry 
were as much elated as the " Sixteen " and their adherents were 
dispirited. A vigorous advance on the part of the king might 
have given them the courage to assert themselves boldly. La 
None of the Iron Arm, than whom a better adviser could not 
be found, warmly recommended that Henry should ride on at 
the same pace with which he had come to Mantes, until he 
should reach the gates of Paris. Must the blame for the fail- 
ure to carry out this plan be laid to the account of Henry him- 
self ? Must the blunder be classed with the examples of supine- 
ness and inability to reap the fruit of victories, which he had 
given after the battle of Coutras and after the capture of the 
faubourgs of Paris ? Not primarily, nor altogether. It was the 
misfortune of Henry to have in his council Iioman Catholics of 
ability and influence, men who had hazarded life in his service 
even in this last battle, men who were therefore really desirous 
of his ultimate success, but would have been disappointed had 
the Huguenot king been able, before the conversion of which 

1 Henry IV. toRoussart, Mayor of Langres, Rosny, March 14, 1590. Memoires 
de la Ligue, iv. 273-276. 

- Lestoile and Pierre Corneio, both of whom were well qualified to express 
an opinion, agree on this point. The former says that Henry could and should 
have taken Paris ; the latter regards his delay, the result of intoxication with 
success in the battle of Ivry, as a mark of the Divine intervention for the 
salvation of Paris. Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 297, 298. 


he held forth hopes, to obtain an easy and complete triumph 
over the last vestiges of the League. Religion gave a superficial 
coloring to their motives, but private interest was at the bot- 
tom the controlling power. Two names have come down to us 
of such disloyal advisers — old Marshal Biron and Monsieur d'O. 
Marshal Biron The f° rm er knew that with the return of peace his own 
d°ohindei- e Se au ^ lor ^y as chief military counsellor would be at an 
siege of Paris. en( j . fi 1Q r0 y a i pupil would be f ully emancipated from 
the master's ferule. The latter, as superintendent of the finances, 
preferred that Paris should be taken by force rather than 
by peaceable means, for he looked with covetous eyes upon the 
probable confiscation of the municipal revenues. While the 
doughty old warrior dissuaded the king by raising up imagin- 
ary difficulties, the wily and unscrupulous treasurer had a hun- 
dred ways of presenting very real and insurmountable obsta- 
cles, in the form of an absolute deficiency of money to meet 
the demands of mercenary troops always clamorous at the I 
inopportune time. 1 

And so the golden opportunity was missed to conclude the 
struggle virtually at one blow. How much of disaster to France, 
of dishonor to the king himself, depended upon the die now 
cast, the world will never know. Three years later, Henry, 
wearied of protracted war, was told, and he believed the state- 
ment, that Paris was certainly worth a mass. If, by promptly 
following up his victory at Ivry, the son of Jeanne d'Albret 
had now gained possession of his capital, its later purchase 
at so heavy a price would have been unnecessary. It is, at 
any rate, doubtful whether the memory of the most chivalric 

1 Sully, in two passages (chapter 30 of the first part, and chapter 50 of the 
second part of his CEconomies royales), charges the delay upon a concerted 
plot of the "financiers," and in one of them particularizes Monsieur d'O. 
The second passage occurs in a letter written by Sully to Henry IV. in 1605, 
where he distinctly reminded his majesty that when Henry was anxious to 
proceed to the capture of Paris, "the men of your council and their followers 
made your army immovable, by causing it to be deficient of all things '' Mezt'- 
ray v (Abrege chronologique, vi. 26) inculpates both Biron and d'O, the former 
" parce qu'il craignoit que le Roy, lequel il traitoit comme son disciple, ne 
sortit, s'il faut ainsi parler, de dessous sa ferule," etc. 

1590. THE BATTLE OF IVRY. 209 

prince of the sixteenth century would have been tarnished by 
the record of an insincere abjuration. 

If by his delay the king hoped to give an opportunity to 
Mayenne and the Parisians to return to a better mind, he was 
greatly deceived. The duke made use of the respite to write 
to Philip and to the pope imploring aid. In both his let- 
ters he cast the entire blame for the recent defeat upon the 
German reiters, whom a few discharges of cannon 

The duke of .J 3 

Mayenne im- and a few arquebuse shots so terrified that they 
Philip and promptly fled, and throwing themselves upon the 
duke's own cavalry caused irremediable confusion. 1 
The tone of the letter to Philip was of abject supplication. 
*' Sire," wrote this very patriotic Frenchman to the king of a 
rival country, "I protest that, whether strong or weak, I shall 
never make default in any duty, and shall finish my days with 
the fulfilment of the oath which I made and which I again 
repeated in the letters I wrote to your majesty, on the depar- 
ture of M. Tassis, which is that I shall rather die than be false 
to it." In return for which, he begged for money to raise 
troops — money, the lack of which he said drove him to despair. 2 
To the pope Mayenne assumed the air of injured innocence, 
and boldly reproached his holiness with having abandoned him 
when engaged in the service of God. And he did not conceal 
his disgust that the head of the faithful should allow himself 
to be swayed by purely human considerations, selfishly hoarding 
up his treasures, shunning all expense, and remaining an idle and 
uninterested spectator of the public calamities of Christendom. 3 
For, strange to say, the League had come to regard itself as 
more Catholic than the pope himself, and, encouraged by the 
Altered views example of Spain, looked at Sixtus as little better 
of sixtusv. tn an a favorer of heretics. In truth, Sixtus had so 
greatly changed his views respecting Henry the Fourth since he 
despatched Cardinal Cajetan to France, that he appeared to be 

1 "La vraye cause de notre mal fust, que nos reistres estonnez de quelques 
coups de canons et harquebuzes qui donnerent parmi eux, s'enfuirent aussy- 
tost en groz et se vindrent renverser sur ma cornette et trouppe " Mayenne 
to Philip II., Soissons, March 22, 1590, De Croze, ii. 408. 

2 Ibid., ii. 405. 3 Summary in De Thou, vii. 621. 

Vol. II.— 14 


acting at cross purposes with his legate, when this legate was 
merely following out his original instructions. Sixtus the Fifth 
had from the commencement conceived for the chivalric prince 
an admiration which was heightened, rather than abated, by 
the undaunted boldness of Henry's attitude in respect to the 
papal bull of excommunication of 1585. Recently his leanings 
in this direction had become more evident. The Roman Cath- 
olic princes of the blood and great nobles of France who had 
espoused Henry's interests had sent Monseigneur de Luxem- 
bourg to Rome, and, in January, 1590, Sixtus had gone so far 
as to grant him an audience, despite the remonstrances of the 
Spanish party. Nay, instead of closing his ears, the pope Lad 
listened with undisguised pleasure to the description Luxem- 
bourg gave of Henry's courage, goodness, and greatness of soul. 
" Now, truly," broke in the admiring pontiff, " I grieve that I 
have excommunicated him." And when the envoy expn 
the confident hope of the king's speedy conversion, Sixtus un- 
hesitatingly declared that, in that case, he would embrace and 
comfort him. 1 

To say that the League and its ally, Philip of Spain, were 
annoyed is but to express half the truth. They were indignant. 

they were enraged. In Paris Sixtus was denounced 
nouncedasa as a miser that wanted only to enrich his relations at 
cnconragerof the expense of the public treasure. 2 In Spain a Jesuit 

preacher from the pulpit declared, that not only the 
republic of Yenice but the pope himself countenanced the her- 
etics. At Rome, upon the very day on which Mayenne indited 

1 Ranke, History of the Popes, 222. 

- Nevers, in a letter to Sixtus V., prefixed to his " Traite des causes et des 
raisons de la prise des armes," boldly tells him of some of the accusations laid 
to his charge, as, for example, that he winked at the Duke of Savoy's des 
on Provence, because he hoped either to annex a part of it to the Comtat Ve- 
naissin, or, at least, to induce the duke to hold it from the pope as lord para- 
mount. Respecting his accumulated wealth he remarks : ''On a public que 
quelquun se plaignant du pen de secours que V. S. donnoit. an prejudi 
la promesse que Monsieur le Cardinal de Montalto avoit faite de vostre part a 
MM. du Conseil General de l'union estably a Paris, on luy avoit respondu .pie 
les cinq millions d'or qui sont le sang et la moelle de vos sujets, n'avoient pas 
este ramassez dans le chasteau Sainct Ange [San Angelo] pour les employer 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 211 

his two letters to Philip and to Sixtus, the Spanish ambassador 
undertook to lodge with the irascible pontiff a formal protest in 
his master's name against that pontiff 's behavior. Six- 
Rgainsthis " tus was furious, interrupted, upbraided, threatened, 
blustered ; but, after all, the ambassador succeeded in 
telling the pope on bended knee all the unpalatable things he 
had come to utter. More zealous for the faith than the so- 
called Vicar of Jesus Christ, Philip, by the mouth of his am- 
bassador, demanded that Sixtus should declare all " Navarre's " 
adherents indiscriminately excommunicate, and pronounce 
" Navarre " himself incapable of holding the crown of France 
under all circumstances and forever. "If not," said the am- 
bassador, " the Catholic king will renounce his allegiance to 
your holiness ; for he cannot suffer the cause of Christ to be 
ruined." ' 

Meantime, quite indifferent to the change that had taken 
place in Sixtus, his legate, Cardinal Cajetan, now at a safe dis- 
tance, pursued his old way undisturbed, and urged the Parisians 
to persist in relentless hostility to the Huguenot king. 

That king, having lost the chance of taking his capital by a 
single blow, tardily moved to the south of the city and took 
Henry lays Corbeil and Melun on the upper Seine, and Lagny on 
siege to Paris, the Marne, together with some more distant points — 
Crecy-en-Brie, Montereau, Provins. It was evident that Henry 
had not idly placed his hand upon the sources of supply of hun- 
gry Paris, and that but a slight tightening of his grasp would 
be necessary to make the citizens feel their folly in neglecting 
betimes to provide themselves with a good store of the neces- 
saries of life. The assurances of speedy victory with which 
Mayenne and the preachers had fed the credulous populace had 
had the effect of leading them to forego the most ordinary pre- 
cautions. The moment, however, the citizens saw the hated 

a soustenir la cause de Dieu, mais bien pour enrichir vos parents, et donner 
moyen a ceux qui espouserout Mesdames vos niepces, d'acquitter leurs debtes." 
As the letter is dated August, 1590, Sixtus probably died before it reached 
Rome. It is printed at the head of the second volume of the Memoires de 

1 Ranke, History of the Popes, 222-224. 


prince calmly settling down at the bridge of Charenton, close to 
the confluence of the principal rivers, they awoke from their 
dream of fancied security. " Paris is a great body that cannot 
long endure the inconveniences of a siege," Mayenne wrote to 
Philip the Second, only eight days after the battle of Ivry, and 
the truth of the statement was now to be put to the test of ex- 
perience. 1 

The Parisians made good use of the short respite allowed 
them by Henry's tardiness. They elected the Duke of Ne- 
mours governor of the city. Provisions were hastily 

Active prepara- i • r i • ii 1 i t i 

tionsofthe brought in trom the neighborhood. It was perhaps 

Parisians . 

characteristic of the times and of the country that 
over against three thousand hogsheads of wheat, oats and other 
grain thus introduced, there figured in the account more than 
ten thousand hogsheads of wine. The fortifications, too, were 
not forgotten. Walls, in places so ruinous that the people were 
in the habit of clambering over them in preference to going 
around by the gates, were repaired and strengthened. All the 
cannon that had graced the ramparts, with the exception of a 
single one, had been taken away to be used in recent battles, and 
had fallen into the hands of the enemy. The Parisians set them- 
selves so vigorously to work that, before many weeks, they mus- 
tered sixty -five pieces of the rude kind in use toward the close of 
the sixteenth century. The display of devotion to the cause of 
the League was great. The poor labored at the public works, the 
rich contributed of their means. On all sides it was agreed 
that Paris should never submit to a heretical king. A frenzy 
took possession of all classes. The preachers were especially 
distinguished for their zeal, thundering from the pulpit against 
Henry of Bourbon — that was the most courteous designation 
they ever applied to him — and extolling the piety of resistance 
to his claims. Keither in church nor in street did any one dare 
contradict them — a circumstance that creates no surprise in view 
of the fact that more than a score of persons had been summa- 
rily put to death without judge or form of trial, or had been 

1 " C'est un gros corps qui ne peult supporter longteinps les incomuioditoz 
d'un siege." Mayenne to Philip II., March 22, 159U, De Croze, ii. 4U5. 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 213 

thrown into the Seine, for the mere suggestion that it would be 
better to make peace with the victor of Ivry. 

On the seventh day of May the Sorbonne — the " sacred fac- 
ulty of theology, 1 ' as it loved to be styled — on being consulted 
The sorbonne by the municipal officers as to whether, should 
He^o^Bou?- " Charles the Tenth " die, or resign in favor of 
" Henry of Bourbon," the latter ought to be recog- 
nized as legitimate king, rendered a long decision in the nega- 
tive. That very day Henry of Bourbon encamped before the 
city, from the Porte Saint Antoine and the Bastile, to the Porte 
Montmartre, and the next day " Charles the Tenth " — other- 
wise called Cardinal Bourbon, expired at Fontenay-le-Comte,in 
Poitou. The former fact interested the Parisians, at 

Death of old t-i-ii o i i • i 

cardinal Bour- present, more than did the latter ; tor the "heretical 
king " promptly burned every windmill on the hills 
about the capital, and reduced the citizens to the dreary use of 
mills worked by hand or turned by horses, and the horses were 
presently needed for other purposes. 

It was not long before a serious problem confronted those 
in authority. How long would the existing provisions hold 
out '( A careful census was made — more accurate, we may 
believe, than any previous attempt at enumerating the popula- 
tion. The largest city of France, some said of Christendom, 
was found to contain two hundred and twenty thousand souls. 1 
At a pound of bread a day, the supply of grain might last a 
month from date, that is, from the twenty-sixth of May. Paris 
was no place for beggars and useless persons. Thirty thousand 
such had been ordered to leave the city, but the order had been 
negligently executed ; and now, when the supernumeraries at- 
tempted to go they were driven back by the besiegers. 

It was all-important to keep up the enthusiasm of the people : 
so their piety and their worldly hopes were in turn appealed 
to. One day it was a grand ecclesiastical procession that showed 
itself, with Pose, bishop of Senlis, at its head as commander- 
in-chief, and monks and friars, from grave Carthusian to sordid 

: So says Lestoile, ii. 16, but Pierre Corneio makes the number only a round 
200,000. Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 303. 


Franciscan, walking four abreast, each order marshalled by its 
own prior. A halbert or an arquebuse in one hand, a crucifix 
in the other, the members of this "church militant,'' as its 
admirers called it, passing in review before the papal legate, pre- 
sented a singular mixture of the churchman and the soldier: 
for though the gown was trussed up and the cowl thrown back, 
the color of the dress betrayed the wearer's profession, despite 
helmet and breastplate. The only mishap that marred the 
scenic effect was the result of the awkwardness of one of the 
good fathers in handling his gun, and Cardinal Cajetan, having 
had his almoner shot dead at his side, might certainly be par- 
doned for requesting that no more salutes should be fired in his 
presence. Meanwhile the people were fed on the constant assur- 
ance that help was on its way, that Philip would soon have an 
army at their gates ; and in proof of the truth of the assertion, 
the empty farce of sending and receiving pretended messen- 
gers to and from Parma in the Netherlands was sedulously 
kept up for the popular benefit. 

But enthusiastic preaching — even that of Father Pierre 
Cristin, likened for his eloquence to Demosthenes himself — 
pro ess of could not feed empty stomachs. Food became more 
the famine. an( j more scarce. The rich, renouncing unattainable 
luxuries, were reduced to oaten bread, and to the flesh of asses, 
mules and horses. The poor could not even afford these viands, 
for they had not the opportunity to earn even a Hard, and arti- 
cles of food once cheap, or even rejected with disdain, now 
commanded extravagant prices. An uninviting porridge made 
of bran was all they could procure for themselves. Even the 
scanty alms in money occasionally doled out seemed an empty 
mockery. The Spanish ambassador, one day, as he passed by 
the parliament house in company with the Archbishop of 
Lyons, met a crowd of poor people crying for hunger, and 
bade his attendants throw them handfuls of halfpence coined 
with the Spanish arms. But the multitude hardly 

Visitation of l . 1 1 * i • «• i ' 

the religious took the trouble to pick them up. u Ah, sir, they 
piteously exclaimed, " throw us bread, for we are dy- 
ing of hunger." The incident had one good effect ; it led to 
an enforced visitation of the monastic and other crreat estab- 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 215 

lishments. The rector of the Jesuits tried to beg off ; but the 
prevot des marchands administered a severe rebuke. " Your 
prayer, master rector," said he, " is neither civil nor Christian, 
lias it not been found necessary that all that have grain should 
offer it for sale, in order to meet the public need ? Why should 
you be exempted from this visitation ? Is your life of greater 
price than ours?" When the abashed rector reluctantly ad- 
mitted the officers into the Jesuit house, they found that the 
prudent members had a store of wheat and hay, of biscuit and 
salt meat, that would have lasted them a full year. Others 
had been scarcely less provident. The members of the Capu- 
chin order, an order at that time not over sixty-five years old, 
seemed to have forgotten the stringent vows of poverty dis- 
tinguishing them even from the parent order of St. Francis. 
The people who had understood that the Capuchins lived only 
upon daily alms and distributed whatever remained over night 
to the poor, were scandalized when they discovered their house 
well furnished with food. The result of the investigation was 
that the monks were forced to share their supplies with the 
destitute. An enumeration of the dwellings of the poor re- 
vealed the fact that there were twelve thousand three hundred 
houses coming under this designation. In seven thousand and 
three hundred a little money was still to be found ; the inmates 
of five thousand had neither bread nor money. Thereupon it 
was ordered that, for the space of a fortnight, the ecclesiastics 
should give to the extremely poor gratis, and to the others on 
presentation of a token stamped with the municipal arms, a 
pound of bread a day for each person. The appointed term 
over, famine pressed with redoubled force. Prayers and lit- 
anies, eight days' devotions, processions multiplied. Yows 
were made. The citizens gathered in the Hotel de Yille, voted 
to send a lamp and a boat of silver to Our Lady of Lo- 
retto, in case of deliverance. Still the price of food steadily 
advanced. Nothing was cheap any longer, Lestoile tells us, 
but sermons. 

In the village that clustered around the neighboring abbey 
church of Saint Denis, matters were even worse. The populace 
were reduced to rations of four ounces of bread a day. Happily 


Saint Denis capitulated on the ninth of July, and the Parisians 
had only themselves to think about. 1 

And now men bethought them of Sancerre and its marvellous 
experiences of seventeen years before ; and doubtless Jean de 
Lery's story of the famine became a very serviceable " cookery 
book for the besieged." The Roman Catholics of Paris learned 
The besieged f rom the Huguenots of Sancerre the art of making 
tostrangT 186 the verv refuse of the city a means of sustaining 
food. human life. Dogs, cats, rats and mice were eagerly 

sought for and devoured. Decoctions of herbs took the place 
of wine, and were sold on the squares which but a few weeks 
ago had echoed to the cry of good Malmsey. Presently re- 
course was had to the skins of animals, first rendered soft by 
being soaked and boiled in water. Money would hardly buy 
for the rich, when ill, the most essential delicacies. A man was 
lucky if a crown of silver would secure a pound of bread. A 
pound of butter, usually worth four sous, commanded thirty 
times that sum. For a single egg more was asked than the 
amount of a laboring man's wages for a day. Men, women and 
children were dying in the streets — one hundred and fifty or two 
hundred every twenty-four hours. " I have seen the poor eat- 
ing dead dogs all raw in the streets," says Pierre Oorneio. " I 
have seen others devouring the entrails that had been cast into 
the gutter ; others mice and rats that had been similarly thrown 
away." Expedients still more revolting were resorted to. In 
a company, at an earlier time in the siege, Don Bernardino, 
much to the disgust of some present, recounted how that in a 
city besieged by the Persians, bread had been manufactured of 

1 While in Saint Denis, Henry the Fourth took occasion to enter the abbey 
church, and inspect the sepulchres of the kings and queens of France. 
Standing near the tomb of Henry the Second, he noticed with particular satis- 
faction that since his last visit Catharine de' Medici had been laid at rest 
beside her husband. Doubtless remembering well the time of the Conference 
of Nerac, when the late queen mother waged war against him "asa lioness." 
the years when she would neither rest quietly in her own bed nor permit him to 
rest in his, the king observed to himself, but in tones quite audible to those 
about him, that it was just the best place for her — " quelle est bien la ! '' 
Lestoile, ii. 23. 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 217 

human bones reduced to powder. Xow the abominable experi- 
ment was tried in Paris with remains disinterred from the Cime- 
tiere des Innocents. The people made a grim jest of it and 
called it Madame de Montpensier's bread, but all that tasted 
of it died. The horrible story is no fiction. "I saw it with 
my owm eyes,"' writes Corneio ; while Lestoile informs us that 
he long kept a piece of the duchess's bread among his curious 
relics. In one instance at least, a wretched mother is said to have 
subsisted for some days upon the salted flesh of her own dead 
children. These children had died of hunger ; but there were 
other children whom the German lansquenets, maddened by pri- 
vation, hunted down like dogs in the streets, and killed and ate. 1 
Meanwhile Mendoza and Cajetan, with the cohort of preach- 
ers, endeavored to keep up the people's courage, giving freely 
of their money and of such food as they could dispense. 
What was lacking the legate made up with indulgences, assuring 
every one that death in so holy a cause w 7 as a sure passport to 
paradise. But the growing restiveness of the populace, more 
and more distinctly clamoring for bread or peace, could not be 
cardinal repressed. At last a council, to which the leading 
STe n Arch- d nobles, the parliament, and the chief burghers w r ere 
on S s h s°e P ntto Ly invited, found it necessary to yield so far to a move- 
ment now becoming formidable, as to depute Cardinal 
Gondy, Bishop of Paris, and the Archbishop of Lyons to visit 
Henry of Bourbon, and ascertain whether some universal 
peace for the entire kingdom could not be secured. Now, as 

1 The two best and fullest narratives are that of Lestoile (Edition Michaud 
and Poujoulatj, ii. 15-30, and that of Pierre Corneio. entitled " Discours bref et 
veritable des choses plus notables arrivees au siege memorable de la renommee 
ville de Paris, et defense d'icelle par monseigneur le Due de Nemours, contre 
leRoy de Xavarre," in Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 296-325. The Leaguer Cor- 
neio' s story must be read in connection with two other relations, written by 
loyalists, inserted in the same collection (iv. 326-337, and 337-340), one of 
which, " Brief traite des miseres de la ville de Paris," is particularly valuable. 
The accounts given by De Thou and other historians are derived from these 
sources almost exclusively. M. Alfred Franklin has republished (Paris, 1876) 
an interesting contemporary French translation of an Italian relation, from a 
MS. in the Mazarin Library, under the title, " Journal du siege de Paris en 
1590, redige par un des assieges." 


this same Henry of Bourbon was the prince whom the pope 
had expressly excommunicated, as not only a heretic but a 
relapsed heretic, declaring him incapable of succeeding to the 
throne of France, the two prelates were naturally solicitous, lest 
in undertaking the negotiations with him they should bring 
upon themselves the censures of the church. They applied to 
the legate for a full discharge, but Cajetan would not grant one 
until he had obtained from three doctors of theology a favor- 
able reply to the questions he submitted to them. 1 The envoys 
next sought a safe-conduct from the king, to meet him at Saint 
Denis ; but Henry graciously granted them an audience nearer 
the capital, in the old abbey of Saint Antoine des Champs, 
whither he himself rode, with a goodly retinue of a thousand or 
twelve hundred gentlemen. The venerable ecclesiastical estab- 
lishment where the meeting took place stood about two-thirds 
of a mile from the Bastile and from the gate to which it gave its 
name, on the road to the Bois de Vincennes. The city has long 
since taken the abbey — now transformed into a hospital — and 
its spacious gardens, into its ever-widening embrace. 

It was between noon and one o'clock that the envoys entered 
the cloisters. To their respectful greeting the king returned a 
kindly welcome, and conducted them to an upper room, to hear 
the message they brought. Meantime the Huguenot gentlemen 
of Henry's suite crowded close upon their monarch and his 
guests, in a manner that somewhat excited the surprise of the 
latter. But the Bearnais's native wit readily found an excuse 

1 The doctors consulted were Panigarole, Tirius, rector of the Jesuits, and 
Robert Bellarniin, the most celebrated controversialist the Roman Catholic 
Church has ever produced, whom Sixtus had sent with his Legate into France. 
The points submitted were: " Whether persons surrendering a city to an 
heretical prince, by reason of the necessity of famine, are excommunicated ? 
Whether in going to an heretical prince in order to convert him. or in order 
to better the condition of the Catholic Church, they incur the excommunica- 
tion pronounced by the bull of Sixtus the Fifth ? " The doctors replied : 
"Negative, quod non incurrunt." Recueil de ce qui s'est passe en la con- 
ference des Sieurs Cardinal de Gondi et Archevesque de Lion avec le Roy. 
reprinted in Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 340-347- This account was written, 
as appears from its statement, on the 7th of August, the next day after the 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 219 

for the apparent want of decorum, in the circumstance that his 
fearless braves were more used to the melee of the scene of 
conflict than to the nice etiquette of court receptions. " Be not 
astonished," said he to the prelates, " if I am so hard pressed ; 
I am still more hard pressed when I enter into battle." ' A 
word from their master, following this flattering speech, made 
the attendants part and leave a clear passage. 

The cardinal-bishop was chief spokesman on the side of the 
League. lie depicted in lively colors the miserable condition 
of France, which had induced the Parisians to send the present 
deputation to his majesty to beg him to apply a remedy, and, 
that the peace might be general, to permit them to go and con- 
fer with the Duke of Mayenne. Moreover, to enforce his re- 
quest, he warned the king that Paris might imitate the desper- 
ate courage of the city of Ghent, or the endurance which lit- 
tle Sancerre had displayed, in defence of life and religion. 
Henry heard him out very patiently ; he even made no positive 
objection to recognizing their credentials, though but a simple 
determination of sundry deputies held in the Chambre Saint 
Louis, wherein he was styled merely King of Navarre. But he 
absolutely refused to have his city of Paris undertake the office 
of mediator. " I would gladly give a finger to have a battle ; I 

would give two fingers for a general peace ; but I can- 
ply to the not grant what you ask." Besides, he objected on the 

score of humanity to the delay entailed by negotia- 
tions for a general peace. The number of deaths was already 
great ; but if the famine must continue eight or ten days longer, 
ten or twenty thousand lives more might be sacrificed. "I am 
the true father of my people," Henry exclaimed, "I am like the 
true mother whom Solomon judged. I would almost rather have 
no Paris, than have it all in ruins after the destruction of so 
many poor people. Not so with the partisans of the League. 
No wonder; they are all Spaniards or Hispaniolized." He 
touched upon the daily loss incurred by the faubourgs of Paris, 

1 " Ne trouvez estrange si je suis ainsi presse, encores davantage aux batailles." 
Recueil de ce qui s'est passe en la conference des Sieurs Cardinal de Gondi et 
Archevesque de Lion avec le Roy. Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 340. 


and addressing himself to Gondy individually, he said : " You, 
cardinal, ought to have compassion. These are the sheep of 
your fold ; for the smallest drop of their hlood you will have to 
give an account before God. And so will you, too, Archbishop 
of Lyons, who occupy the rank of primate over all the other 
bishops. I am not much of a theologian, but I know enough to 
tell you that. God does not expect you thus to treat the poor 
people whom He has intrusted to your care, especially for the 
sake of gratifying the King of Spain, Bernardino Mendoza, and 
the legate. You will have your feet well scorched for it in the 
other world. How do you expect to convert me to your religion, 
if you make so little account of the lives and salvation of your 
flock ? It is giving me poor proof of your sanctity ! " 

The archbishop did not relish the imputation of being turned 
into a Spaniard ; but he must have been somewhat confounded 
Philip's claim when the king produced, in evidence of the disloyalty 
to Paris. f tne L ea g U e 5 an intercepted letter of Philip the 
Second wherein the writer had the effrontery to recommend 
that measures be taken to preserve for him " his city of Paris."' 
inasmuch as, should he lose it, his prosperity would be seriously 
affected. 1 

The cardinal undertook to make an insincere apology for the 
attempt to treat for a general peace. Should Paris yield and 
admit the king, its doom would be sealed. It would at once be 
besieged by the united forces of the King of Spain and the 
Duke of Mayenne, and most probably be captured ; at any rate, 
three-fourths of its population would desert it. Thereupon the 
king's anger took fire. He looked proudly round upon his nobles 
and said : " Let the King of Spain come with all his allies ! By 
God, we shall beat them thoroughly and show them clearly that 
the French noblesse knows how to defend itself.*' Then cor- 
recting himself: "I have sworn, contrary to my custom; but I 
tell you again that, by the living God, we will not endure that 
disgrace." The gentlemen who stood by emulously took the 

1 " Au surplus, je vous monstrerai une lettre, par laquelle le Roy d'Espaene 
mande qu'on lui conserve sa ville de Paris ; car, s'il la perd, ses affaires vont 
tres mal." Ibid., iv. 343. 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 221 

oath each for himself, while Henry proceeded to inform the prel- 
ates that, should Paris be deserted by a few bad citizens, he 
would himself speedily repeople it with one hundred thousand 
trusty men, both rich and loyal. In fact, wherever he went he 
would make his Paris. 

The interview was long and animated. While Henry refused 
the request of the prelates, he offered Paris free forgiveness, if 
its citizens would pledge themselves to surrender the place — un- 
less it were succored, or a general peace were made — within 
eight days. "If they accept this condition," said he, "in eight 
days they will be in quiet. If they expect to wait to capitulate 
when they shall have but one day's provisions, I shall let them 
dine and sup that day, on the morrow they will have to give them- 
selves up with the halter — corde — about their necks, instead 
of the mercy - miserieorde — which I offer them. I shall take 
away the wretchedness — misere — and they will have the corde." 
Nor did Henry fail, before he concluded, to take exception to 
the comparison the cardinal had instituted between the Paris- 
ians, on the one hand, and the Protestant inhabitants of Sancerre 
and the determined burghers of Ghent, on the other. The 
people of Sancerre subjected themselves to unheard-of priva- 
tions, because they were threatened with the loss of their lives, 
their property, and their faith ; whereas their rightful monarch 
was only desirous of restoring to the Parisians the lives that 
Mendoza, the Spaniard, was taking away from them by famine. 
As to religion, all the Roman Catholic princes and gentlemen 
present could abundantly testify what treatment they received, 
and whether their consciences were constrained or their freedom 
of worship was interfered with in the slightest degree. So also 
was it with regard to their possessions. The illustration drawn 
from Ghent w r as equally bad. " The Parisians," said Henry, 
" have sufficiently shown what amount of courage they have, in 
allowing their suburbs to be taken. I have five thousand gen- 
tlemen here that will not suffer themselves to be treated in 
Ghentish fashion." ] 

1 I have followed in the text the account above referred to, " Recueil de ce 
•qui s'est passe," etc., upon which the narratives of De Thou and others are 


Whatever might be said of the patient endurance of the 
Parisians, the facts of the case certainly seemed fully to bear 
out the charge of pusillanimity and cowardice brought against 
them by the king. The besieging force, though considerably 
increased during the progress of the siege, never approached 
the total number of twenty thousand men — perhaps did not 
exceed, at any one time, fifteen thousand. 1 The Duke of 
Nemours, on the other hand, had within the city some eight 
pusillanimity thousand mercenary troops; while of the citizens 
of the capital, themselves fully fifty thousand were men in the prime 
of life, one-third of them possessed of some military training, 
all of them furnished with arms, all raised to the highest pitch 
of enthusiasm by the ardent declamations of their preacher.-. 
Yet no sortie of any magnitude was ever attempted. After 
the seizure of the faubourgs the royal army was, of necessity, 
so distributed that only a small detachment — not over twelve or 
thirteen hundred men— could be spared to blockade each gate. 
Against any one of these a fearless and skilful leader of brave 
troops could, at any moment, have hurled an overwhelming 
mass of twenty thousand men, and these, in all human probabil- 
ity, must have been victorious before the half-hour or more had 
expired which would have been needed to bring reinforcements 
from the neighboring gates. But the Parisians made no such 

chiefly based. Motley (United Netherlands, iii. 00-08) gives some iuterest- 
ing particulars respecting the interview derived from a letter of W. Lyly to 
Sir E. Stafford, despatched the day after that on which the "Recueil" tru 

1 De Thou, vii. 049, makes it consist, on its arrival before Paris, of 10,000 
foot jind 3,000 horse, but states that it received large accessions, especially 
the 4,000 foot and 1,000 horse brought from Guyenne by Viscount Turenne. 
The Recueil des choses memorable?, p. 721, and Corneio, Memoires de la 
Ligue, iv. 304, make the original numbers 12,000 foot and 3.000 horse; 
Corneio swells these subsequently, ibid., iv. 320. to 12.000 or 13, Odd foot and 
3,500 horse. Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 233, says 14,000 foot and 2,500 horse. 
But Henry IV. himself, in a letter to Montmorency, dated St. Denis, July 22, 
1590, speaking of his army as containing " la plus belle troupe de noblesse 
ensemble qu'il y eut peut-estre de trente ans en France." makes it cone 
rather over than under 3.000 gentlemen serving on horseback, 0,000 Swiss and 
German lansquenets, and more than 0,000 French foot soldiers. Lettres mis- 
sives, iii. 228. 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 221$ 

dash. They preferred to see themselves hemmed in by an in- 
ferior number of Huguenots and royalists, to making a sin- 
gle desperate venture. Thirteen thousand persons — some said 
thirty thousand persons — died of actual starvation, or of the 
diseases engendered by want ; still the besieged did not move 
from the fatal spot, with arms in their hands, determined to 
free themselves of the besiegers or die in the attempt. 1 

The loss of life would have been still greater had it not been 

for the humanity of Henry the Fourth. In their desperation, 

manj- of the besieged let themselves down over the walls, into 

the ditch, and made their way to the royal outposts. 

Tenderheart- . ' J J r 

ednessofthe lhe cries and the tears or these poor persons accom- 
plished with his majesty what entreaty had been un- 
able to effect earlier in the siege. He granted permission to 
the number they asked — three thousand, it is said— to pass 
through his lines ; but, in point of fact, more than four thou- 
sand took advantage of the opportunity to gain the open coun- 
try. 2 The Duke of Xemours was glad to have them go ; for he 
was relieved of the necessity of trying to find food for so many 
famishing men. But there were others who condemned Henry's 
mercy as ill-timed, and prejudicial to his own interests. In 
fact, we are admitted just here to a very instructive view of 
Queen Eliza- *he contrast between the characters of two of the 
bethnndsfauit.p r j nc jp a ] ac tors upon the stage of history in the six- 
teenth century. Queen Elizabeth, now fifty-seven years of age, 
was so far from showing any feminine compassion for the per- 

1 Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 233-236, discusses the matter in a very forcible 

a Brief traite des miseres de la ville de Paris, in Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 
331. "En fin son bon naturel rompit la barriere des loix militaires. II ac- 
corda premierement passeport pour toutes les femmes et filles et enfans ; et 
pour tous les escoliers qui voudroyent sortir ; il augmenta depuis pour les 
religieux et gens d'eglise. II passa a la fin jusques a ceux qui avoyent este ses 
plus cruels ennemis, et eut soin que sortans ils fussent humainement recueillis 
et receus en toutes ses villes ou ils se sont voulus retirer " Sommaire dis- 
cours de ce qui est advenu en l'armee du roy, depuis que le due de Parme s'est 
joinct a celle des ennemis jusques au quinziesme de ce mois de Septembre, in 
Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 351. Tins last document was prepared for despatch 
to all royal governors, etc. 


ishing men, women, and children of Paris, that she scolded her 
ally roundly for his folly in letting so many persons go out of 
the city, whose presence would have compelled its surrender. 
" If God, in His merciful favor, shall grant you victory," she 
wrote to him, " I swear to you ( if I dare say so ) it will be 
more than by your carelessness you deserve." 1 And Henry 
the Fourth, more than a score of years her junior, was com- 
Henry defend8 pelled to justify himself, and endeavor to prove that 
his conduct. ne } ia( j j n no w j se contributed to lengthen out the 
siege. The Duchess of Montpensier and her partisans would 
have remorselessly allowed the poor refugees, if driven back, 
to perish before their eyes, as so many others had died. He 
asserted, moreover, that, even had the royal permission been 
denied, the fugitives would have contrived to pass the lines. 
The most stony heart, among the soldiers, must have melted 
at the sight of so much wretchedness. 3 

It was not the only time that the nature of Henry of Bour- 
bon, full of humane feeling, stood in advantageous relief over 
against the unsympathetic and calculating character of the daugh- 
ter of Henry Tudor. 

By the close of August it seemed that the supply of food was 
almost absolutely exhausted, and that in two or three days the 
city must certainly fall into the hands of the king. At this criti- 
cal moment, however, the coming of the Prince of Parma was 
announced. Reluctantly yielding to the importunity of Mayenne 
and to the positive orders of Philip the Second, Alexander Far- 
opportune nese na( ^ P asse( l tne northern borders of France, and, 
tEukeof by an almost direct march, marching through Guise, 
Parma. Soissons and La Ferte-Milon, had reached Meaux, on 

the Marne, twenty-eight miles east of Paris. He brought with 
him from Flanders a force almost precisely as large as that with 
which Henry had begun the siege of his capital — three thousand 
horse and twelve thousand foot ; but, including the troops of 

1 u Si Dieu vous donne la victoire de sa grace misericordieuse, je vous jure que 
ce sera plus que (si je l'ose dire) par vostre nonchaillauce, pourres meriter " 
Queen Elizabeth to Henry IV. (without date), in Lettres missive?, iii. '? v ~ 

2 Henry IV. toBeauvoir, October, 1590, Lettres missives, iii. % 2S"). - 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 225 

Mayenne, with whom he now formed a junction, he had at 
his command an army numbering five thousand horse and 
eighteen thousand foot. 1 His object was evident. He had not 
come so much to fight the battles of the League as to relieve 
Paris of the sore famine that was crushing it, and his first 
blow must be struck at Lagny and Corbeil, which prevented the 
supplies from the upper Marne and Seine from entering the city. 
Opinions differed much among the counsellors of the king as 
to the course to be adopted. Should Henry continue the siege, 
or, abandoning the fruits of so many months' labor, should he 
per lexit &° out an ^ meefc Parma upon the open field ? It was 
of the king. a g rave question, and it was to be decided at once. 
Henry had sent forward a detachment of cavalry as far as to 
Claye, within ten miles of Meaux, and these had driven in the 
outposts of the enemy. La Noue, with the experience of a life- 
time to guide him, advocated the plan of retaining a portion of 
the royal army in its present position about Paris, and continu- 
ing the siege without intermission. The rest he would have 
thrown forward to Claye, where, in a narrow place, with the Bi- 
beronne, a little tributary of the Marne, in front, and woods and 
a marsh in close proximity, even an inferior force would enjoy 
many advantages for holding at bay or defeating a larger one. 
At any rate, it could delay the enemy's progress, until in an 
emergency the whole body of the royalist army might be col- 
lected together. 2 Others held that, in view of the cowardice 
shown by the Parisians, a very trifling band of Huguenots would 
be sufficient to keep the present positions, so as to allow most of 
the army to make the advance. Duplessis Mornay regarded 
three thousand men as all-sufficient to hold the Universite, or 
southern half of Paris, in a state of siege ; and this was the on- 
ly side from which provisions could be introduced during the 
king's advance. 3 Yiscount Turenne reaching the royal camp 

1 Motley, United Netherlands, iii. 74-76. 

2 Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 238 ; Memoires de Villeroy (Edition Michaud- 
Poujoulat). 160. See Davila, 475. 

3 Memoires de Madame de Mornay (Edition of the Historical Society of France) 

Vol. II. — 15 


just at this juncture, indeed, offered to guard the posts which the 
king's troops might leave, with the three or four thousand arqwc- 
busiers and the few hundred horsemen he had brought from 
Guyenne. 1 But Marshal Biron thought, or pretended to think, 
otherwise. He magnified the danger of a general sor- 
ron's bad tie of a score of thousand armed men from the walls 
of Paris upon the handful of royalists left to keep 
them in. He ridiculed the idea that a French detachment at 
Claye could find the opportunity to inflict damage upon the 
well-disciplined Spaniards under Parma's command. He urged 
the advantage arising from the courage which a general advance 
would inspire in the breasts of the king's followers. It is need- 
less, perhaps, to inquire whether the marshal erred in judgment, 
or, as is more probable, purposely chose to lengthen out the war 
in revenge for the king's failure to confer upon him, according 
to promise, the sovereignty of the county of Perigord.' Such 
charges of disloyalty might be dismissed with incredulity and 
treated with contempt, were it not but too certain that a very 
considerable party among the Poman Catholics of the royal 
army were impatient of the delay in the monarch's promised in- 
struction, and would prefer that Paris should be relieved rather 
than see it fall into the hands of a Huguenot king. It was 
notorious that breadstuffs found their way into the capital, from 
time to time, through the connivance of officials in Henry's em- 
ploy, whose lukewarmness was equalled only by the readiness 
they displayed to receive bribes at the hands of the besie_ 
Unfortunately the marshal's advice coincided but too fully 

1 Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 238. 

2 Ibid., ubi supra ; Memoires de Sully, c. 31. — M. Poirsou (Histoire du regne 
de Henri IV., i. 251) does not hesitate to style Marshal Biron " the true author 
of the deliverance of Paris." 

3 " Plus vous vous souviendrez," says Sully in his remarkable letter of 
reminder to Henry IV., " comme quelque temps apres vous voulustes i - 
d'affamer Paris, mais vous fustes si mal servy par tous ceux qui ne vouloient 
point de roy huguenot dans Paris, que tous les gouverneurs des places voisines 
laissans passer les vivres a puissance, et les chefs des troupes assiegeantts les 
laissans entrer librement dans Paris, pour de 1' argent et des babioles, ils leur 
donnerent moyen etloisir d'attendre un secours, pour estre fournis de vivres." 
Memoires de Sully, chap. 49 of part ii. (vol. iv. pp. 205, 206, ed. of 1003.) 


with Henry's inclinations. Siege operations were less to his 
taste than the prospect of a battle which might once for all de- 
cide the issue of the war. Not but that, the night before he with- 
drew his troops from before Paris, his anxiety was great. And 
his anxiety, as was so often the case with this strangely incon- 
sistent prince, displayed itself in professions of deep sorrow for 
his sins and earnest supplications for the divine mercy, which 
struck the sole bystander as utterances of genuine feeling. 
"When Duplessis Mornay, returning from the discharge of a 
commission intrusted to him by his majesty, entered Henry's 
chamber at Saint Denis, he found him wakeful and with mind 
and heart interested in religious matters. He rose from his 
bed, and, calling for the Huguenot psalter, read several of 
Marot's and Beza's translations, apposite, as he thought, to the 
circumstances ; then requested Duplessis Mornay to offer up a 
prayer. The king's devotion was evidently sincere * it was, to 
all appearance, very superficial and evanescent. 1 

The story may be apocryphal that, having once made up his 
mind to follow Biron's advice, the gay monarch laughingly 
charged La None with having given a contrary suggestion 
through fear that he might again fall a prisoner into the hands 
of the enemy, and be obliged to endure another captivity in 
Flemish dungeons. 2 However this may be, on the thirtieth of 
August Parma learned, greatly to his relief, that the King of 
Henry with- France had withdrawn all his troops from before 
paS! Aujjst Paris ; and that, instead of holding the strong position 
of Claye, he had drawn up his army, as though for 
battle, full ten miles nearer Paris, on the plain of Bondy. As 
Parma did not make his appearance, Henry advanced the next 
day to the village of Chelles, confident that now at length he 
would have an opportunity to cross swords with the only living 

1 "Revenant a. St. Denis, il trouva le roy tout seul en son lict, qui l'enten- 
dant, se leva en robe de nuict, s'enquit ce qu'il avoit faict, puis luy demanda 
ses Psalmes, en leut quelques uns a propos de ce qui se presentoit, et luy com- 
manda de faire la priere ; et est certain que le roy estoit en anxiete et mons- 
troit un cceur douloureux de ses fautes et avoit un grand recours a la mis ri- 
corde de Dieu " Memoires de Madame de Mornay (Edition of the Historical 
Society of France), 198. - Lestoile, ii. 31. 


man whose military reputation equalled or surpassed his own. 
In this hope, however, he was doomed to disappointment. 
Parma had no name to make ; his exploits elsewhere had earned 
him sufficient renown. Least of all was he disposed to risk an 
unnecessary engagement. It is said — and we have no reason to 
doubt the truth of the assertion — that, at sight of the French 
army he was surprised, almost alarmed, and reproached May- 
enne for having deceived him as to the foe whom he was to 
meet. Certainly all accounts agree that so goodly an array of 
soldiery as that which stood ready to fight under Henry's 
standards had rarely, if ever, been seen. The number did not, 
indeed, greatly differ from that of Parma's own army — there 
were five or six thousand horsemen and eighteen thousand foot 
soldiers — but, with four thousand French nobles and gentlemen 
of the best houses in the realm, with six princes, two marshals 
of France, and, as the patriotic chronicler assures us, more 
captains and experienced chiefs than all the rest of Christendom 
could afford, the Huguenot king's army presented an appearance 
such as Parma could best appreciate. 1 Xor were the Protestant 
soldiers and their Poman Catholic comrades in the king's army 
less remarkable for their loyalty than for their fine appearance. 
Any man among them would have deemed it a privilege to die 
for his sovereign and "the good cause." If all had not the 
Brave m. de wit, many had the zeal of that grand Huguenot, M. de 
camsy. Canisy, mentioned by Henry the Fourth in one of 

Ms letters, who took part in a furious attack upon Yique, in 
Lower Normandy. " It would have been a complete triumph," 
writes the monarch, " had it not cost Canisy a second wound in 
the mouth. This does not, however, stop his brave talk. 'Do 
not pity me,' said he to La Noue, 'for I have still enough to cry 
" Long life to the king ! " when we shall have gotten into Paris.' " a 
In vain did Henry, in the spirit of a chivalry now quite out 

1 Compare the statements of the "Sommaire Discours," in the Memoires de 
la Ligue, iv. 354, with the eulogistic phrases of Sir Edward Stafford in a letter 
to Lord Burleigh, as quoted by Motley, United Netherlands, iii. 79. 

2 4 * Mais bien disoit-il a la Noue de ne le plaindre point, puisqu'il lui en 
restoit assez pour crier ' Vive le Roy ' quand nous serons dedans Paris. " Henry 
IV. to the Countess de Grammont, April 5, 1590, Lettres missives, iii. 187. 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 229 

of vogue, send to his enemy a challenge in due form, and in- 
vite him to decide the present disputes in set battle. Parma, 
who had strongly entrenched himself, quietly made answer to 
the effect that he would fight or abstain from fighting precisely 
as it might suit his interests. 1 It evidently suited him better 
just now not to fight. So for an entire week the Spanish general 
kept Henry and his Huguenots chafing under their disappoint- 
ment at being unable to cross swords with their opponents, 
and then, after bringing out a part of his army as though for 
battle, quietly but rapidly shifted the main body and brought 
it opposite to the town of Lagny, which lay a little to his rear, 
separated only by the stream of the Marne. Important as was 
Parma takes Lagny, the fortifications were of the old style and 
such as not to be capable of withstanding even the 
primitive kind of artillery then in use. A bridge of boats had 
been provided while the Flemish army lay apparently inactive, 
and the troops that crossed upon it were ready to rush in and take 
possession of the place, the moment that a practicable breach 
had been made by the cannon. With the capture of Lagny 
and the butchery of its garrison, Parma accomplished one part 
of his mission. The Marne was once more open. Meantime 
Henry seems not to have guessed his adversary's design until it 
was half executed. The distance was considerable, there was, 
we are assured, a dense fog, and a strong wind from the south- 
west prevented him from hearing the detonation of the cannon. 
Even when made aware of what was going on, he was power- 
less to hinder it. A marsh lay between him and Lagny upon 
the right bank of the river, not to speak of the part of Parma's 
forces that had been left to oppose his advance ; while, had he 
been able promptly to transfer his army to the left bank of the 
Marne, not only would he have reached Lagny too late to avert 

'Parma's answer to Henry's herald, according to Corneio, was this : "Tell 
your master that I have come to France by the command of the king my mas- 
ter, in order to put an end to and extirpate the heresies of this kingdom ; 
which thing I hope to accomplish, with the grace of God, before I leave. And 
if I find that the shortest road to this end is to give battle, I shall give it and 
compel him to accept it, or else I shall do whatever may seem to me to be for 
the best." Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 323. 


the catastrophe, but he would have left the road to Paris clear 
to the enemy. 1 

Annoyed at the mistake he had committed, and vexed that 

his rival in arms had so easily gained a signal advantage under 

his very eyes, Henry undertook, two days later, to re- 

Failureofa / . J _ * ' J ' , 

nocturnal at- trieve his fortunes by a nocturnal attempt upon .Paris. 

tack on Paris. _ ° , *• * 

Ladders had been provided, and that portion or the 
walls was chosen for the escalade which was farthest distant 
from the scene of the recent movements of the two armies. It 
was believed that, if any part of the walls would be negligently 
guarded at such a time, it would be the space between the gates 
of Saint Germain and Saint Jacques, on the southwest of the 
city. And so it proved. Indeed, had it not been for the vigi- 
lance of the Jesuits of the college hard by the Porte Saint Jac- 
ques, the escalade would have been successful. As it was, the 
first man who reached the top received so vigorous a blow from 
an old halberd in the hands of one of the fathers, that he fell 
back into the ditch, and it fared no better with the others who 
followed his example. The ladders were too few and too short 
for the purpose, and before a sufficient number of men could 
be placed upon the walls to make a stand, the citizens had heard 
the alarm and flocked to the spot in overwhelming numbers. 
The night was dark, but great quantities of lighted hay were 
thrown down into the dry moat, and the assailants, who were 
thus seen to number some two thousand men, rinding their 
enterprise frustrated, at once withdrew.' 

1 Corneio, Discours bref et veritable, in Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 323 . B 
maire Discours, ibid., iv. 353-355 ; Recneil des choses memorables, 730, 731 ; 
De Thou, vii. 659-6G3; Agrippa d'Aubign /■, iii. 240, 241 ; Davila. 470-474 

2 Pierre Corneio, in his account of the siege to which we are indebted for so 
many valuable details, gives a circumstantial narrative of the escalade M - 
moires de la Ligue, iv. 323-325). The official circular sent out to the governors, 
etc., barely refers to it (ibid., iv. 355). There is a slight discrepancy of dates, 
the former making the capture of Lagny to have occurred on Friday. Sept. 7th 
(•' le vendredi, veille de Nostre Dame de Septembre " — sc. Nativity of the Holy 
Virgin), and the escalade on Monday morning, Sept. 10th, and the latter placing 
each event one day later. Motley, however (United Netherlands, iii. v 
certainly as incorrect in assigning the date of Sept. 15th to the assault on 
Lagny, as is De Thou (vii. 663) in giving it that of Sept. 6th. 


Meantime, the moment the king went off to meet Parma, 
provisions had poured into the city. The famishing citizens, 
„ . but a few hours ago reduced to the utmost verge of 

Pari.* pro- O o 

vMoned. despair, again beheld the welcome sight of bread. 
The poor could now buy freely what had been beyond the reach 
of all except the very richest. The fall in the price of grain 
was well-nigh as sudden and as unexpected as that which fol-> 
lowed the famine of Samaria. A sceptical Parisian might well 
have exclaimed, on the eve of Parma's approach : " Behold, if 
the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be ? " 
— had a prophet foretold that the " setier" of wdieat, which then 
could scarcely be bought for one hundred and twenty crowns, 
would be sold within a few days for three or four. 1 

The fall of Lagny was followed, in October, by the capture of 

Corbeil. Before he once more turned his face northward, the 

Prince of Parma had freed the Seine, as well as the 

Capture of . 

corbeii by Marne, iro in the deadly grasp ot Henry, it is true that 
Alexander Farnese was scarcely gone before Givry, 
one of the king's most active generals, recovered both Corbeil 
and Lagny, and began once more to distress the capital. Xone 
the less was it but too apparent that from Henry's magnificent 
victory at Ivry, and from his persevering siege of Paris, he had 
reaped the most meagre harvest. The battle had indeed exalted 
his military fame and given him an unquestioned place among 
the most brilliant commanders of his time, but, instead of secur- 
ing for him the possession of his capital, it had been merely the 
prelude to a tedious siege. The siege itself, after leading him 
to the very threshold of success, had left him apparently as far 
from ultimate triumph as ever. For these rebuffs the luke- 
warmness or actual disloyalty of a considerable body of his coun- 
sellors and officers was responsible. At Mantes, Marshal Biron 
unfaithful- an d Monsieur d'O compelled him to fritter away a pre- 
ernor°s f <?f OV cious fortnight, whose opportunities could never be re- 
cities. covered. During the siege, governors of adjacent 

places and officers who would have been sorry to see his majesty in 
full possession of his realm before he should have renounced the 

1 Corneio, ubi supra, iv. 325. 


Huguenot faith, were induced, by paltry bribes of finery and 
bawbles, to suffer just enough food to be smuggled into the city 
to enable it to drag out an existence until the tardy approach of 
Parma. In the last hours of the siege the baneful influence of 
Biron again came in to cause the king to abandon an advan- 
tageous position, and to prefer the plain of Chelles to the more 
favorable pass of Claye. 

Immediately after the fall of Lagny, and some weeks before 
the loss of Corbeil, Henry took the extraordinary step of dis- 
banding the greater part of the magnificent army which, but 
a few days before, had kindled the admiration of Alexander 
Farnese and of Sir Edward Stafford. Strange, as this course 
mav seem to us, it had had a parallel on more than 

Henry gives J ■ , A . 

a furlough to one occasion during the previous wars. Ine pre- 

his troops. *■ A 

text was that the country about fans was thorough- 
ly exhausted and could furnish no adequate supply for so large 
a body of troops ; while the gentlemen, serving at their own 
charges, had long since come to the end of the little outfit they 
had brought with them. The statement was not unfounded ; 
yet the common voice of the people was not far wrong when 
it contrasted with this inconstancy the generous endurance of 
the city of Paris, and exalted the steadfastness of a promiscu- 
ous rabble of men, women, and children, greatly to the disadvan- 
tage of a noblesse that could not bring itself longer to put up 
patiently with the temporary loss of a few of the ordinary coin- 
forts of life. 1 

Putting, therefore, good garrisons in various cities of the 
neighborhood of Paris, and despatching the Prince of Conty 
into Maine, Montpensier into Normandy, Longueville into 
Picardy, Nevers into Champagne, and Aumont into Burgundy, 
to watch over the interests of the crown in these provinces, 
Henry once more addressed himself, with the small body of 
troops he retained about his person, to an adventurous war- 
fare. 2 

When Alexander Farnese, having finished, after a masterly 

1 De Thou, vii. 004-665. 

2 De Thou, ubi supra. 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 233 

fashion, the task he had unwillingly taken upon himself, pre- 
pared to return to Flanders, the king promptly determined to 
Henry follows accompany him so far as the borders. " Our Span- 
his retreat in iards," lie playfully wrote to Montmorency, " are 
from France. muc [ l honker people than those you have to do with ; 
for they are not willing to put their host to any farther annoyance 
and talk of withdrawing. They have done me so little harm 
that I regard myself obliged to do them the honor of escorting 
them home." ' Accordingly, such was the pertinacity with 
which he attached himself to the retiring columns, and such in- 
jury was he able to inflict, that Parma's movement assumed the 
form of a retreat, and Henry, by his apparent pursuit, gained 
so much credit with the Picards that not a few castles and 
towns came over to his side. 2 

Meantime, in other parts of France the arms of the Hugue- 
nots had, during the past year, met with some signal successes, 
The war in beginning with an important victory gained in 

the provinces. Auvergne upon the very day Q f the batt ] e f Ivry .3 

But these advantages were counterbalanced by serious losses. 
It was difficult to determine whether the fortunes of the king 
or those of the League were on the whole predominant in Brit- 
tany. If the able Lesdiguieres performed remarkable exploits 
in Provence and Dauphiny, and even made his way across the 
Alps and defeated some troops of the Duke of Savoy not far 
from Susa, the duke amply made up for this by invading the 
French territory and making a pompous entrance into the city 
of Aix, where, to their shame, not only the municipal magis- 
trates, but the presidents and members of the Parliament of 
Provence came, each in the order of seniority and rank, to kiss 
his hand and to swear fidelity to him as protector and governor- 
general of the province. 4 

Marshal Matignon obtained, by peaceable methods, a more 
substantial triumph for the king in the great province of Guy- 

1 Henry IV. to Montmorency, Escouy, Nov. 4, 1590, Lettres missives, iii. 

2 Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 244 ; De Thou, vii. 673, etc. 

3 De Thou, vii. 623-7. * De Thou, vii. 681-7. 


enne ; for he persuaded the Parliament of Bordeaux, which had 
until now absurdly retained the name of the deceased Henry 
the Third upon its official seal, to recognize the authority of 
Henry the Fourth, and to issue its documents in his name. Yet 
even this concession was not made without an equivalent on 

I Henry's part. If not actually purchased, the favor of the Bor- 
delois was rewarded by a solemn declaration of the king, given 
Henry aboi- at Mantes, on the tenth of November, whereby he 
Sotestant hree abolished the courts of justice at Saint-Jean-d'Angely, 
courts. Bergerac and Montauban, which, though established 

' by the Huguenot political assembly held at La Itochelle con- 
temporaneously with the second states of Blois, had been recog- 
nized by Henry of Valois at the time of his reconciliation with 
Henry of Navarre. 1 

Thus it was that the Huguenot monarch of France showed 
himself quite ready, whenever the occasion required, to sacri- 
fice the interests or even the safety of the men who had fought 
under his standards and elected him protector of their churches. 
True, of words and kind assurances Henry showed no lack. Less 
than a week before the edict was signed whereby he deprived 
the southern Huguenots of those judicial bodies without which, 
in the excited state of the public feeling, they could hop 
no justice, he wrote to the " ministers of the churches of Lan- 
guedoc," expressing full satisfaction with their entire conduct, 
and begging them to persevere in their "devout prayers and 
supplications." Spiritual weapons, he thought, would he more 
effectual than temporal in removing the evils at present atnict- 
ine France ; for it was very certain that, should God's anger he 
appeased, He would cause the arms to fall from the hand- of 
the enemy. 2 But when any measure was proposed for the relief 
of the Protestants, there was a strange apathy, amounting t-> 
positive reluctance. Of this a clear proof was given in the very 
month in which this letter was written. 

1 Anquez, Histoire des assemblies politiques des reformes de France, 129 ; 
De Thou, vii. 680, 681. 

2 Henry IV. to the Protestant ministers of Languedoc, Cerny, November 4. 
1590. Lettres missives, iii. 292, 293. 

1580. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 235 

Keenly alive to the injustice to which his fellow-Protestants 

were exposed, Duplessis Mornay, with the king's consent, drew 

up the form of an edict, to be signed by him, with the 

Duplessis Mor- . . - „ TT . 

nay draws up view or adulating: present dinerences. His maiesty 

a bill for the , J . r . . . . . . . , . 

relief of the was made to reiterate his promise to hold, within a 

Protestants, .. . . . ,.. / ^ 1 . . . 1 , 

year, a council to winch all Christian princes should 
be invited, or, in case this should be impossible, a national 
council or, at least, an assembly of holy and learned men. His 
hope was to prove, " by the docility, attention, and facility he 
would bring to his instruction, that he had continued until 
now steadfast in his religion, not through vanity or obstinacy, 
but solely from fear of offending God." It was ordered that 
all Roman Catholics, save such as were notorious rebels, should 
be restored to their rights ; and that, while the exercises of the 
Romish religion were everywhere restored, those of the Protes- 
tant religion should be maintained wherever this was guaran- 
teed by the truce between the late king and the King of Na- 
varre. But the cardinal articles of the proposed edict were two, 
which defined the rights of the Protestants more distinctly. 
The one declared the edicts of 1577 and of 1580, together with 
the interpretative articles of Nerac and the so-called secret arti- 
cles, to be in force. The other distinctly repealed the pretended 
" edicts of re-union " which the League had violently extorted 
from the late king in the months of July, 1585 and 1588. 1 

The efforts of Duplessis Mornay to secure the consent of the 
royal council to the measure were crowned with success. The 
chancellor, Biron, Aumont, O, and all who were present, pro- 
nounced it eminently just and equitable. The document re- 
ceived the king's signature. Duplessis Mornay and Chancellor 
Henry at fivst Chiveriiy were commissioned to proceed at once to 
afterwaTd re-* the city of Tours, and use their influence to obtain 
cans the edict. t ^ e p rom p t approval and registration of the edict 
by the loyal Parliament there in session. But before they had 
reached their destination — in fact they had gotten no farther 

1 "Formulaire de la declaration pour la revocation de l'edict de juillet, faict 
par M. Duplessis," Pont St. Fierre, November, 1590, inMemoires de Duplessis 

Mornay, iv. 492-504. 


than Anet — the chancellor received a hastily scrawled letter of 
four lines from Henry, bidding him return and defer the bus- 
iness until some future occasion. The opponents of the Prot- 
estants had secretly thwarted a scheme of such manifest justice 
that they were ashamed to oppose it openly. 1 

But the Huguenots were not inclined to acquiesce in this 
delay ; least of all was the able author of the proposed edict so 
disposed. His remonstrance addressed to Henry has come down 
to us. "The revocation of the two edicts of July (1585 and 
1588) ought," he remarks, " to meet with no opposition. These 
edicts were extorted from the crown by violence, they have en- 
gendered the extreme calamities at present subsist- 

A remon- . . -iii 1 • 1 i a • 

Btrance against ing, they assassinated the late king, they have dis- 
honored the nation, and confounded the state. It is 
disgraceful to have tolerated them so long, seeing they declare 
the reigning monarch incapable of holding the sceptre, degrade 
the princes of the blood, and render all that recognize Henry 
the Fourth liable to impeachment. On the other hand, the 
edict of pacification of 1577 was enacted with great solemnity. 
All the princes of the blood took part. France fared well in 
consequence of it. All the king's subjects were satisfied. The 
lioman Catholic religion was maintained in its dignity, while 
provision was made for the needs of the Protestant religion. 
In sum, the matter was regarded as settled and not to be re- 

" An adjustment of the rightful claims of the Huguenots," 
continues Duplessis Mornay, "cannot longer be deferred. God 
has given the king extraordinary tokens of His favor, and lie 
must be recognized. The difficulties are all on man's side: they 
will disappear, if we invoke and serve God. It was much far- 
ther from the proscriptive ordinance laid down as a fundamen- 
tal law of the realm to the royal court, than it is from the edict 

1 " Et par la nos adversaires traverserent ce quils eussent eu honte de ren- 
verser." Vie de Duplessis Mornay, 154, 155, where a full account of the mat- 
ter is given. Pont St. Pierre, where the edict was signed, is about midway 
between Rouen and Les Andelys ; Anet. where the commissioners were over- 
taken, lies only a few miles beyond the battlefield of Ivry. 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 237 

of the trnce to the edict of pacification of 1577. Since God 
brought us the former distance, we cannot refuse or delay to 
take the last step. 1 

" We are told, * Let the Huguenots have patience ! ' They have 
patiently endured for fifty years and more ; they will be patient 
Huguenot st ^ m tne king's service, for they are his subjects and 
patience. fi no t wav er in their affection. But it is not for the 
good of his service to condemn them to patience in such a mat- 
ter. If they were willing, the king ought not to permit it. It 
is his duty to enkindle religious zeal. Religion is extinguished 
in men, if it be not fostered. Of private men God requires only 
that they be religious themselves ; of those born for the good 
of others, He demands that they cause their subjects to serve 

" Some say, ' Matters will be adjusted with the Protestants, 
when we shall come to treat with the partisans of the League.' 
This is iniquitous. The latter have warred against the king and 
require peace ; the former need only to be delivered from the 
oppression to which their consciences have been subjected. 
Besides, what patience can there be in such affairs ? Every day 
children are born, men and women are married, some one dies. 
Shall our children die without baptism, shall marriages not be 
solemnized, shall dead bodies lie unburied? To pray to God 
for the king's prosperity in a gathering of three families, to sing 
a psalm in one's shop, to sell a Testament or a French Bible — 
these things are reckoned crimes by the judges, and every day 
sentences are pronounced because of them. The judges allege 
that they are bound by the last laws. They weigh in the same 
scale the unobtrusive offering of prayer to God in a private 
room for the king's prosperity, and seditious preaching from 
the pulpit against his person and welfare. 

" A foreign auxiliary army, composed of Protestants, will soon 
be coming. Foreign princes will beg his majesty to restore to 
his subjects their religion. It will be little to the credit of one 

1 " II j avoit trop plus loiiig de la loi fondamentale jusques a, la cour, quMl 
n'y a par de l'edict de la trefve jnsques a l'edict de 77 ; et si Dieu a faict Tung 
pour nous, nous ne lui pouvons ni desnier ni dilayer l'autre." 


that is ' Very Christian ' to be asked to do his duty and entreated 
to satisfy God's honor. The princes will request of him more 
than it is in his power to give. If he grant the request, it will 
be to recall his concession later, and to afford the Roman Catho- 
lics reason to think that the concession was extorted. 

" It is occasion for thanksgiving that his majesty honors God, 
whereas his predecessors blasphemed His name. But should 
the king's subjects behold him growing cold or apathetic in his 
religion, should they see him living less scrupulously than that 
religion enjoins, their respect for him will diminish. They will 
The king's sa J • ' If it is a religion, why does he not make more 
inconsistency. accorm t of it ? If it is no religion, why does he not 
give us quietness by changing it ? ' " ' 

Such was the manly remonstrance of one of the clearest 
thinkers of the period, one of the purest souls upon the earth. 

Henry's Roman Catholic subjects might well have remem- 
bered these pregnant expressions, and, two years later, after the 
abjuration so lightly made, have required Henry to make an- 
swer to just this inquiry : If your Protestant faith amounted to 
anything more than a mere pretence, why did you not hold to 
it more stoutly, and practise it more consistently? If it ws 
empty and insincere as it would now seem to have been, why 
not have spared us these long and terrible years of war. rapine, 
and disgrace ? 

Meanwhile the position of the Huguenots, even in the loyal 
portions of the kingdom, and under a king professing their own 
faith, was not devoid of anxiety. In the confused state of leg- 
islation it was doubtful what their civil rights really were. Of 
the edicts of Henry the Third only those that proscribed the 
Protestant religion were in force. The edicts of pacification, of 
which it was remembered with a smile that each of them had 
successively been enacted with solemnity and declared to be ir- 
revocable and perpetual, had long since been abrogated and an- 
nulled. The lot of the Protestants had, it is true, been tem- 

1 " Discours envoye au roy en mars 1591. sur ce que sa niajeste retardoit la 
publication de la declaration ci-dessus, faicte par M. Duplessis," in Memoires 
de Duplessis Mornay, v. 36-41. 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 239 

porarily bettered by the truce between the late king and the 
King of Navarre ; but the duration of the truce was expressly 
limited, and the term had expired. No wonder, then, that ill- 
disposed persons pretended to deny the Huguenots even the 
slightest relaxation of the severities to which they had been 
exposed for years. At Caen, where the loyal Parliament of 
Normandy sat, despite the impotent wrath of the rival court at 
Rouen, priests and monks were provoked almost beyond endur- 
ance by what they styled the audacity of the heretics. The 
hated "preche" was frequented with little attempt at secrecy. 
The familiar sound of Marot's psalms was a^ain heard 

The Parlia- 

mentof Nor- in the streets and lanes. It was even apprehended 

mandy and . . , -p^ 

the pVotes- that on the coming feast or Corpus Christi the 1 rot- 


estant householders would decline to drape their 
doors and windows in honor of the holy sacrament. The provo- 
cation was enough to set preaching friars at their old work of 
denunciation from the pulpits of all the churches. The judges, 
quite at a loss how to act under the circumstances, applied to 
the king for instructions as to what it was his good pleasure 
to command respecting the exercise of the Reformed religion. 
Obtaining no answer in season, they calmly proceeded to draw 
up an order prescribing, under penalty of ten crowns for dis- 
obedience, that all houses be draped, all shops be closed, and 
all labor be suspended on the day of the coming festival. When 
this extraordinary action of the provincial parliament was re- 
ported to the monarch, together with sundry other acts of 
petty annoyance to which the Norman Protestants were sub- 
jected, Henry at once wrote directing that the provisions of 
the truce granted by his predecessor be regarded as still in 
force, until such time as he might have the opportunity to con- 
vene an assembly of princes and other competent persons to 
settle the questions pertaining to the general peace of France. 
Not even so, however, were the judges content to acquiesce in a 
system of toleration. They did, indeed, go through the form 
of resolving to send a deputation to the king to explain their 
motives ; but none the less did they repeat their order the next 
year, in advance of the recurrence of Corpus Christi Day. 
Nay, they summoned to their bar one Beaulard, a counsellor in 


the presidial court, to answer for his insubordination in daring 
to refuse to hang tapestry before his residence. In vain did the 
brave lawyer allege his faith and his religious scruples. lie was 
soundly berated for the bad example which, as judge and coun- 
sellor, he had set to the other inhabitants, and was informed 
that parliament might, if it so pleased, have inflicted a severe 
fine upon him. As it was, he escaped with the payment of 
twenty crowns. But, while willing to gratify the churchmen of 
Caen by such defiant disobedience of the royal commands, there 
were some acts of priestly insolence which the Parliament of 
Normandy saw fit to rebuke. Thus, when the curates and 
their vicars undertook to draw up careful and complete lists of 
all the Huguenots who had abstained from draping their houses, 
the prosecuting officer of the crown received a peremptory order 
from the supreme court to take no account of the lists, and to 
regard the priests as interested parties whose unsupported tes- 
timony could not be received against their adversaries. The 
judges would allow none to be condemned on the testimony of 
others ; though quite willing that a few of the more prominent 
offenders be made examples of, should they admit their own 
misdemeanor. 1 

Any historical investigator who has perplexed himself in the vain endeavor 
to find a particular statement which, though really in plain sight, has seemed 
maliciously to elude all his efforts to discover it, may derive comfort from the 
experience of Von Polenz in his description of the battle of Ivry. 
The story of The incident respecting the white plume of Henry of Navarre, 
plume atlvry. according to Von Polenz (iv. G6G1, lies outside the domain of crit- 
icism, being as much a historical embellishment as the stories 
in which the cane of Frederick the Great and the hat of the first Napoleon 
figure. As to the king's speech to his soldiers which I have given in the 
text, he declares that it is found in no original historian. Anquetil, he as- 
serts, took it from Bishop Perefixe's panegyrical biography of Henry IV, and 
in this had the support of a popular tradition nearly two hundred years old. 

1 See the account in Floquet, Histoire du Parlement de Normandie, iii. 
548-556, based upon the secret registers ; and the letter of Henry IV. , of 
October 8, 1590. The first action of the parliament, as to the draping of 
houses on Corpus Christi Day, was taken June 20, 1590 ; the second, June 
12, 1591. It was three days after this last date that the priestly denunciation 
received a rebuke. 

1590. THE SIEGE OF PARIS. 211 

In a note Von Polenz informs us that Sismondi, it is true, cites D'Aubigne as 
authority for the king's spirited address, but adds that he does not find it in 
D'Aubigne's history. "It is remarkable,'' he proceeds to say, "that the 
address is not given by De Thou." — Now it happens that the white plume 
is as well authenticated as any point pertaining to the battle. The official 
account of the minister of state Forget — " Discours veritable " (Memoires de 
la Ligue, iv. 265)— expressly says that Henry was " assez remarquable par un 
grand panache blanc qu'il avoit a son acoustrement de teste, et un autre que 
portoit son cheval " — a statement which is, as usual, repeated almost or quite 
word for word by the careful " Recueil des choses memorables," page 718, and 
by Matthieu, Histoire des derniers troubles, liv. 5, fol. 18. Moreover, the 
king's address is to be found in Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 231 ; and if De Thou 
does not insert in his history the very words of the king, he gives their sub- 
stance (vii. 617): "II est vrai que le Roi . . . avoit fait mettre ce 
jour-la sur son casque une aigrette blanche, afin d'etre reconnu de plus loin ; 
et il avertit en meme temps, qu'au cas que son drapeau f ut abattu, comme il 
arrive assez souvent, on prit garde a l'aigrette blanche et qu'on la sui vit. " 

Vol. II.— 16 




A year and a half had elapsed since the accession of Henry 
to the throne of France, but he seemed to be about as far as 
ever from the undisputed possession of his kingdom. His very 
victories were robbed of their fruit by the conspiracy of hi- 
loyal captains. His rebellious capital, when at the point of star- 
vation, had been enabled to hold out, through the negligence 
or connivance of unfaithful guardians of places that nominally 
held for him. His armies were full of those who avowed the 
purpose never to acquiesce in the domination of a Protestant 
prince, should that prince defer too long to be " instructed." 
In the court itself the religion still professed by the king was 
regarded an insuperable bar to promotion. One day — it must 
have been early in March 1 — the council was sitting in the vil- 
lage of Saint Denis, when a gentleman was introduced who came 
from southern France. It was M. de Saint Julien, a man short 
The secretary * n stature, secretary of Lesdignieres, and commis- 
^ ^^ res sioned by his master to bring the tidings of the e.\- 
councii. ploit in the mountains of Dauphiny mentioned in the 

last chapter. At the same time he was directed to request the 
council to confer upon the Huguenot general the government 
of Grenoble. The petition was not an unreasonable one. It 
was not every day in the week that a servant of the king was 
able to report the capture of a city the most important in its 
province and the seat of a sovereign court of the realm, 
probably thought Henry himself, as he stood in another part of 
the council chamber conversing with Soissons and Givrv, but 

Grenoble was taken by Lesdiguu'res. March 1, 1591, De Thou, viii. 15. 


listening to what was said around the board more attentively 
than lie pretended. Not so thought the gentlemen who trans- 
acted his affairs. No sooner had the despatches of Lesdignieres 
been read and Saint Julien been permitted to explain the ob- 
ject of his mission, than Monsieur d'O started to his feet, furi- 
ous that an adherent of the Reformed religion should have the 
audacity to ask for sO important a trust. Other members sup- 
ported his violent remarks, and it devolved upon Marshal Biron 
to signify to the secretary the impossibility which the council 
found in acceding to the wishes of Lesdignieres. Truth to say, 
the marshal was at heart inclined to give a different answer to 
a gallant soldier, whose daring he admired; none the less did 
he discharge his official duty without faltering. In a somewhat 
prolix address, he set forth to Saint Julien the great obligations 
under which Lesdignieres had laid his majesty and the whole 
realm, as well as the desire which all felt to recognize his ser- 
vices suitably. It was, however, quite out of the question to 
place a city which was the seat of one of the parliaments of 
France in the hands of a Protestant. 

The king listened, and his brow lowered. Saint Julien also 
listened most respectfully, and, at the conclusion of the harangue, 
retired with a very humble bow. A moment or two afterward, 
however, a knock was heard at the door, and once more the 
little secretary presented himself with profuse apologies for 
again intruding upon the scene. " Gentlemen," he said, " your 
unexpected decision made me quite forget a single point more 
which I should have mentioned. It is, may it please you, that 
since your great caution has led you to refuse the city of Grenoble 
to my master, you will do well to deliberate also as to the means 
of taking it away from him." This said, he withdrew without 
further ado. " The little man tells you the truth," exclaimed 
the marshal cheerily ; " we must consider the point." The 
light-hearted king, toward whom he cast a furtive glance, an- 
swered with a laugh full of enjoyment of the incident. Lesdi- 
guieres received the appointment, and Saint Julien was the 
bearer of the official announcement. 1 

1 Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 281, 282. 


Meanwhile, despite half-hearted adherents and resolute ene- 
mies, the war against the League went on, though not with 
uniform success. It is true that an attempt made by the Paris- 
ians to surprise Saint Denis, a point essential both to their com- 
fort and to their security, disastrously failed, and their leader, 
the Chevalier d'Aumale, paid the penalty of his rashness with 
his life. But it was only a few days after, that Henry himself 
was equally unsuccessful in an enterprise having for its object 
the capture of Paris. Unfortunately the massing of troops 
in the vicinity of the city had not been so secret as to escape 
the notice of the enemy. Apprehending an attack from the west, 
they had, in particular, blocked up the gate of Saint Honore, 
which then spanned the street of the same name, not far from 
the present site of the Palais Royal. Now it was by this gate 
the royalists had intended entering, disguised as peasants, with 
working clothes over their cuirasses. As the provisions that 
found their way into the beleaguered capital generally came at 
night, no great surprise was felt when, about three 

"Le jour des , , ■• , . rat i 1 r 

farines," jan- o clock on the morning or ounday, the twentieth of 
January, ten or a dozen men, each driving before him 
a horse or donkey laden with sacks of flour, presented them- 
selves at the gate. It was not suspected that the pretended 
countrymen were experienced officers, nor that a stronger de- 
tachment of soldiers in similar costume lurked about the grounds 
of the Convent of the Capuchins (where now the Treasury Build- 
ings face the gardens of the Tuileries), ready to bring up wagons 
wherewith to prevent the closing of the gate when once it 
should have been opened. But the information received by 
the forerunners, that they must either go down to the water's 
edge and suffer their provisions to be brought in by boat, or 
make the circuit of the fortifications to the Porte Saint Denis, 
disconcerted the well-laid plan. Henry himself, who, with a 
strong body of men, was abiding his time, hidden from view on 
the other side of the hill of Montmartre, was reluctantly com- 
pelled to interpret the noise which soon after arose in the city 
as a proof that his project was discovered, and gave the signal 
for retreat. If his disappointment was great, the delight of the 
Parisians far exceeded it in intensity. The superstitious popu- 


lace had felt no little chagrin at the previous rebuff experienced 
at Saint Denis. The time had been carefully chosen by the 
priests to insure the favor of Heaven — it was the eve of Saint 
Genevieve's day, a holy season when it might reasonably be 
expected that the patron of the city would see to it that the 
arms of her devotees should prevail over those of the heretics 
who refused her intercession. 1 As a result, Saint Genevieve 
fell into disrepute. She was accused of having treacherously 
passed over to the enemy's camp. low, however, the Parisian 
League was jubilant. Not satisfied with having lately added to 
their calendar three days of annual thanksgiving, to commemo- 
rate the flight of Henry the Third, the raising of the siege by 
his successor, and the failure of the escalade, the municipal au- 
thorities proceeded to enjoin the observance of a fourth cele- 
bration — destined to as short-lived favor as all the rest — to be 
held on the twentieth of January every year, and known as the 
" Day of the Flour " — "le jour des farines." 2 

It is one of the paradoxes of history that the death of the 
very pope who had excommunicated him, and who absolved his 

subjects from their oaths of allegiance, was a mis- 
ana death of fortune for Henry the Fourth. Sixtus the Fifth died 

on the twenty-seventh of August, 1590, just at the 
close of the siege of Paris, hated by Philip the Second and the 
Spaniards, whose ambitious plans he understood and opposed, 
equally detested by the League, against whom his coffers were 
resolutely locked. The preachers in Paris did not spare him. 
They denounced him from the pulpit as a heretic. Lestoile tells 
us that he himself heard the curate of St. Andre's church preach 
a sermon in which he rejoiced over the death of the pontiff as a 
miracle of divine goodness. " God," said he, has delivered us 
from a wicked pope ! " 3 The Spaniards and Italians went 

1 The festival of Saint Genevieve, as observed by the Roman Catholic Church, 
falls upon January 3d. 

2 For the attempts upon Saint Denis and Paris, see Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 
362, and 364-371 (a contemporary letter by a partisan of the League), Recueil 
des choses memorables, 734, Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 247, Lestoile, ii. 42, De 
Thou, vii. 770, etc. Lestoile records later the celebration of the first anniver- 
sary of the " fete des farines," ii. 81. 3 Lestoile, ii. 34. 


farther, and gave out that his holiness had been carried off by 
the devil, in pursuance of a bargain made long before between 
Sixtus and the prince of evil. Some said, indeed, that he had 
bought his elevation to the pontifical chair at the price of his 
soul. 1 So it was that the same pope who had expressed grave 
fears lest the soul of his predecessor might be enduring the suf- 
ferings of another w r orld, in atonement for the bloodshed oc- 
casioned by the favor he had shown the League,'' was himself 
supposed to have passed to a place of torment. It was even 
asserted that Sixtus had been promised by Satan the possession 
of Peter's chair for a period of six years. When, after the 
expiration of five only, the infernal messenger was sent to 
summon him, he complained loudly of the breach of faith. But 
the envoy soon silenced his remonstrance by reminding him of 
an incident that had occurred early in his pontificate. The 
friends of a youth sentenced to death for some slight offence — 
some said it was for mere resistance to the pope's soldiers, who 
were taking away his ass — pleaded in his behalf that he lacked 
yet a year of the lowest age at which the laws permitted a man 
to be executed. The angry pope, resolved to put him out of the 
way, thereupon exclaimed : " Very well, then, I give him one of 
my years," and ordered the sentence to be carried into effect. 
That year, the Satanic messenger intimated to the dying Sixtus, 
was the missing sixth year of his pontificate." 

Sixtus was succeeded by Urban the Seventh, a creature of 
the King of Spain, but Urban died after enjoying his elevation 
less than a fortnight. Next Cardinal Sfondrato was chosen, and 
took the name of Gregory the Fourteenth. It would have beeo 

strange had the new pope not been well pleasing to 
xiv. supports Philip the Second ; for his Catholic Majesty had made 

up beforehand a list of seven cardinals, and demanded 
that the conclave should elect one of them to the papal see. 4 Ac- 
cordingly Gregory, upon whom the choice fell, was as decided 

1 Ranke, History of the Popes, 225. 9 Above, vol. i. 305. 

3 The strange story seems to have enjoyed wide currency among the super- 
stitious. See Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 230, De Thou, vii. 724. 725, and Ranke, 
142. * Ranke, ubi supra, 22(3. 


in support of the League as Sixtus had been determined in con- 
demnation of it, and detested Henry the Fourth as much as 
Sixtus admired him. And now the treasure which had been so 
carefully hoarded was quickly expended. Surprise has fre- 
quently been expressed that Sixtus was able in five years to ac- 
cumulate the sum of four and a half million scudi or dollars ; ] but 
none, so far as I know, at Gregory's success in making away with 
the whole in a pontificate of ten months and ten days. The late 
pope, who from his earliest days had experienced the keenest 
gratification in the practice of economy and saving, did, indeed, 
undertake to bind his successors in office to reserve the fund 
which he left laid up in the castle of San Angelo sacredly for cer- 
tain purposes, under pain of the wrath of Almighty God and of 
the holy apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. It was to be used 
only in the event of war for the reconquest of the Holy Land or 
of a general war against the Turks, to relieve famine or pesti- 
lence, to avert manifest danger of the loss of a province of Cath- 
olic Christendom, to repel invasion of the States of the Church, 
or to recover a city belonging to the papal see. 2 But Gregory 
was scarcely seated upon the throne, which he ascended on the 
fifth of December, 1590, before he began to lay out the money 
for purposes quite repugnant to the designs of Sixtus. One of 
his first acts was to write a brief to the Parisians praising them 
for their past conduct and exhorting them to persevere to the 
end. He enforced his words by the promise of a monthly sub- 
sidy of fifteen thousand crowns, and by sending Marcellino Lan- 

driano as papal nuncio to France, to second the efforts 
sent as papal of li is legate, the Bishop of Piacenza, who had, some 

time since, taken the place of Sixtus's disobedient 
envoy, Cardinal Cajetan. Meantime a force consisting of six 
thousand Swiss, two thousand foot soldiers, and fifteen hundred 
horsemen, was to proceed as speedily as possible to the relief 
of the League, under command of the pope's nephew, Ercole 
Sfondrato, newly created Duke of Montemarciano. The out- 
rages which the pope's auxiliary army perpetrated in the friendly 

1 See Ranke s discussion of the financial system of Sixtus V., in his History 
of the Popes, 146-148. 2 Ibid., 146. 


Milanese, before leaving Italy, were a presage of the damage 
that might be expected at its hands when once France should 
have been reached. 1 Nor was this all. In a solemn bull, under 
date of the first of March, Gregory warned the clergy of France 
that he suspended and excommunicated them, unless within 
fifteen days they should renounce the obedience of 
sued against Henry of Bourbon. In case a further period of fif - 

Henry IV. J . r , . 

# teen days should elapse, they were to be- deprived or 
all their possessions and dignities. Under the same date, he ad- 
dressed a second bull to the nobles, judges, and tiers etat, where- 
in he called upon them to abandon the king, under pain of trans- 
forming Gregory's pontifical goodness and paternal piety into 
judicial severity. Moreover, he declared the said Henry of 
Bourbon to be excommunicated and to have forfeited all his 
kingdoms and seigniories, as a relapsed heretic. 3 

The papal bulls were promptly answered by a spirited decree 

of the Parliament of Chalons, and the insulting language of 

Gregory was hurled back in defiance. The judges 

nientofctia- ordered the bulls to be publicly burned by the lianu:- 

lons orders 

them to be man on the principal square of the city. They declared 

burned. . , , r r . . , ni 

the pope s documents or excommunication to be null 
and void, " as abusive, scandalous, seditious, full of imposture, 
and drawn up contrary to the holy decrees, canonic constitu- 
tions, approved councils, and the rights and liberties 

And the nun- _ ., J, ._, ~. . , „,. .. 1 , 

ciotobear- or the Gallican Church." Ihey ordered the arrest 


of Landriano, "pretended nuncio, who had clandes- 
tinely entered the kingdom without leave of the king,'' and 
offered a reward of ten thousand livres to the person who 

1 Letter of Gregory XIV. to the Council of the " Seize," Rome, May 12, 
1591, in Cayet, Chronologie novenaire (Ed. Michaud et Poujoulat), 278, 279 : 
De Thou, vii. 774-777 ; Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 371 ; Recueil des choses me- 
morables, 733, 734 ; Ranke, ubi supra, 226. 

2 Summary in the contemporaneous " Response aux commonitoires et ex- 
communications de Gregoire XIV. jettees contre tres-illustre, tres-victorieux, 
et tres-auguste Prince Henri de Bourbon, Roy tres-Chrestien de France et de 
Navarre,'' reprinted in Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 410-654, a long and exhaust- 
ive treatise, in which the rights of kings and of the Gallican Church are 
vindicated with marked ability and no little display of erudition. 


should capture him and deliver him to the authorities for trial. 
They pronounced sentence of forfeiture of all benefices held by 
them in France upon the Roman cardinals and ecclesiastics 
who had counselled and signed the bulls, and who had approved 
" the very inhuman, very abominable, and very detestable par- 
ricide committed on the person of the late Very Catholic king." 
They strictly prohibited all sending of money to Rome for bulls, 
dispensations, or other such ends. 1 

The bulls of Gregory the Fourteenth were fraught with more 
important consequences than might perhaps have been antici- 
pated. We have it upon the authority of Cayet 2 that it was 
these documents that first introduced division into the royalist 
Thebuiisin- P^tyj hitherto a unit, and led to the institution of a 
£on"n e the ivi ~ political faction which arrogated to itself the title of 
royalist party. t i ie « t i erg p ar ti." This was a very different body, and 
with quite diverse principles and aims, from that which, in the 
reigns of Charles the Ninth and Henry the Third, had been 
known sometimes by this name and sometimes as the party of 
the " politiques " or malcontents. The designation now covered 
a considerable fraction of the Roman Catholic adherents of 
Henry of Bourbon whom the monitory bulls and the renewed 
excommunication of the pope suddenly awakened to a sense of 
their peril, as the followers of a prince solemnly deposed by 
the highest ecclesiastical authority, and as themselves incurring, 
by their failure to renounce his allegiance, the gravest censures 
of their church. Such men had before this felt no little reluc- 
tance to serve an "heretical" king, while biding the time when 
he should see fit to submit to the long-deferred " instruction." 
They now began to clamor for the speedy fulfilment of his 
promise, for his prompt abjuration, as an indispensable condi- 

1 The decree of the Parliament of Chalons, of June 10, 1591, is reproduced in 
Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 395-396. 

2 Chronologie novenaire (Ed. Michaud et Poujoulat), 295 : u Bref, il y avoit 
en ce party bien du desordre et de la confusion, au contraire du party du Roy 
qui estoit sans aucune division : ce qui fut entretenu jusques au temps de la 
publication des bulles monitoires du pape Gregoire XIV. que d'aacuns voulu- 
rent engendrer un tiers-party, et le former des catholiques qui estoient dans le 
party royal." 


tion of continued support. An aspiring prelate saw in the un- 
certain state of the affairs of France a possible chance for as- 
serting a claim of his own to the throne. Charles of Bourbon, 
Ambition of Archbishop of Rouen, was one of the three surviving 
chariest sons of Louis, Prince of Conde, who fell at Jarnac, 
Bourbon. twenty -two years before the time of which I am now 
w T riting. lie was the same prelate that had addressed his cousin, 
Henry of JSavarre, in 1583, an ill-considered demand that he 
should become a Roman Catholic, as a means of acquiring the 
support of the nobles, and had in reply received some useful 
information as to what the nature of sincere religion is. 1 The 
eight intervening years, however, do not seem to have had any 
effect in impressing upon his mind the lesson then inculcated, 
that religion is not an article of which a man can divest him- 
self with as much ease as he changes one shirt for another. 
At any rate, he had resolved to obtain what advantage he could 
from Henry's reluctance to abjure Protestantism under mani- 
fest compulsion. It is true that the claim which he could ad- 
vance to be regarded as the first prince of the blood was a very 
shadowy one. The young Cardinal of Bourbon — he had been 
known as Cardinal of Vendome until lately but had assumed 
the former designation upon the death of his uncle, the phan- 
tom king of the League — had an older brother, the Priii 
Conty, not to speak of his young nephew, the son of the late 
Prince Henry of Conde. But Charles affected to despise the 
latter as of more than doubtful birth, while he esteemed his 
brother's physical defects as sufficient to exclude him from the 
succession. As the cardinal, though a member of the papal 
consistory, had never been ordained, no dispensation would be 
necessary to enable him to enter upon the duties of a secular 
monarch. The pope, indeed, whom he sounded upon the point, 
was careful to give him no encouragement in his ambitious 
signs; 2 but popes were short-lived, and Gregory's successor 
might prove more gracious. 

The new party deemed the moment propitious for a demon- 

1 See above, vol. i., page 271. 

2 De Thou, vii. ^book 101), 778-781. 


stration, and resolved, under cover of a call upon Henry to 
gratify his Roman Catholic subjects by embracing their relig- 
Thetiers parti i° us fo^li, to address an appeal to the people. The 
HMtty P toab- P a P er that was drawn up came to be known, from the 
i ure - place of its surreptitious printing, as "the Remon- 

strance of Angers." The circumstance that nowhere else are 
the motives more clearly set forth by which Henry was plied 
to abjure Protestantism will justify a somewhat minute exam- 
ination of its contents. 

"The Supplication and Advice to the King to make himself 
a Catholic," contained the four cardinal propositions, that this 

course would be holy, that it would be honorable, 
stranceof that it would be advantageous, and that it wasa bso- 

lutely necessary. Let it not be supposed, however, 
that under the first head there was any calm discussion of the 
religious, or even the purely moral, aspects of the case. For such 
a discussion we shall look in vain from the beginning to the end 
of the document. Nowhere was a single high motive appealed 
to. The king was informed that the title of "Catholic" had, 
from almost the very beginning, been a badge as distinct as the 
designation "Christian," and that there was, and could be, but 
one church, which continued to subsist while every form of 
heresy had successively disappeared before it. The private in- 
dividuals who had undertaken to reform the church, had done 
so without any warrant. That right belonged to the king. 
" Come into our church and cleanse it so thoroughly and care- 
fully that all pretext for a division shall be taken away. You 
are the eldest son of the church and entitled to command ; but 
you will be obeyed only when you issue your mandates from 
within. Rather be instructed by the multitude of learned men 
in the church than by a few reformers. Let not the conduct 
of one pope or more be a stumbling-block ; go back to the time 
when the Roman pontiffs were also martyrs. The reformers 
themselves do not claim to be perfect ; if that is so, they will 
need to be reformed by others, and these last by still others. 
In ten years there will be as many schisms and quarrels. Noth- 
ing is permanent and enduring. After all, it is ceremonial, not 
doctrine, that is chiefly in dispute. Do not imperil your soul's 



salvation for such trifles. You were baptized in the Catholic 
Church ; you ought to live and die in it." 

The writer had no difficulty in proving, to his own satisfac- 
tion, that Henry would consult his honor by abjuring Protes- 
tantism. All his predecessors were Catholics. Saint LouU was 
canonized, not in Geneva, but in Home. " Sire," said the writer, 
"the first rank which you hold among kings you have received 
for the service of the Christian religion. Who will preserve it 
for you — the Church of Geneva or the Catholic Church \ In 
the councils of the so-called Reformed, the kings of England, 
Scotland, and Denmark will have the precedence over yon, Bince 
you came in later than they did ; while in the assemblies of the 
Catholic Church you will have no standing, because you have 
separated yourself from it. Your nobles will follow you into 
battle, for they recognize you as their natural head and their 
lord by the grace of God ; but will it conduce to your dignity 
to have them forsake you at the door of your " temple " 
(Protestant church) ? Will it be of advantage to your authority 
to have all the princes of the blood and all the officers of state 
gathered in one spot, while you are with a few private persons 
in another place ? Is it becoming that any one of your subjects 
should have a greater following anywhere than you have I And 
when it comes to your coronation (for I have no expectation 
that you will despise a solemnity so ancient and venerable), with 
what honor, with wdiat majesty, with what pomp and ceremonies 
will you celebrate it, if you are to be anointed in a church 
whose foundation-stone is yet to be laid — if popes, cardinals, 
archbishops, and bishops take no part therein ? Will you take 
at the hands of the Reformed clergy the oath to maintain the 
Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church in all its rights 8 And 
when it comes to dying (for the great must think of this as well 
as the small), will it seem good to you that you cannot be buried 
in the old royal crypts at Saint Denis, where the church can 
never receive you ? " 

The profitableness of the change of religion was made equally 
manifest. Henry would gain over all his Roman Catholic sub- 
jects. Even the adherents of the League would gradually sub- 
mit. The cities, tired of war and ready to catch at any pretext, 


would open their gates. The church would help by subventions 
of money. The king would increase his alliances with Roman 
Catholic princes abroad and lose none of his Protestant allies. 
His Huguenot subjects would in part follow his example ; 
those who did not would at least prefer him to their former 
persecutors. Let his majesty not fear lest he should be ex- 
changing a certainty for an uncertainty — the Roman Catholics 
would stand by him, while as for the Huguenots, if they were 
obedient to the late king, they would with much greater reason 
obey the present monarch. 1 

When the absolute necessity of the abjuration came up, the 
writer almost waxed eloquent. Were the king to refuse to be 
converted, he would drag his Roman Catholic followers with 
him to destruction. France, said he, is already a prey to neigh- 
boring princes, each one of whom wishes to appropriate a por- 
tion for himself. His majesty lacks men, money, arms, pro- 
visions. The country, now resembling a den of robbers and 
murderers, rather than a kingdom, must have peace, and it can 
have it only if Henry becomes a Roman Catholic. All the 
three orders of the state are of the Catholic religion ; there are 
not enough Protestants in France, all told, to make a fourth 
division. To please his subjects the king must be of their 
religion. If the affections of the Greeks for Alexander the 
Great were chilled by his merely adopting the Persian dress, 
much more will the French be alienated by a gulf existing be- 
tween their monarch and them that reaches down to the depths 
of the heart. For Frenchmen can tolerate a Turk better than 
they can a heretic. Even the nobles may tire of the endless 
struggle, and waver in their devotion ; but, if they should not, 
what can they do against the united clergy and people? Julius 
•Caesar, with the help of the people alone, triumphed over Pom- 
pey, though the latter had the senate and the equestrian order 
at his back. It is true that Henry has done nothing to the dis- 
advantage of Roman Catholicism as yet, but the popular anxi- 

1 "Et quant aux huguenots, s'ils ont obei au defunt roi, ils vous obeiront a 
plus forte raison." It is instructive to notice another of these numerous, 
almost unconscious, tributes to the unwavering loyalty of the Huguenots. 


ety pictures the evil he may do, when once his power shall be 
unrestricted. That anxiety can be allayed by a single word 
from the king. Let that word come as an inspiration of God, 
rather than a suggestion of man. Let it be prompted by grat- 
itude to Heaven, which has brought the king to Saint Denis, 
where lies buried the good bishop who first brought Christian- 
ity to France, where are his relics, where is his church ! It is 
a fitting place for exchanging the " white scarf" for the "white 
cross." The people's voice is God's voice. If Henry were 
simple Duke of Vendome, he might suit himself in the matter. 
As King of France he must consult the interests of his realm. 
Let Henry be prevailed upon. He is not implored to become 
an idolater, a superstitious devotee, a hypocrite, nor to turn 
Jew, Turk, or heathen ; but, in the divided condition of Chris- 
tendom, to attach himself to the more numerous party without 
becoming an enemy of other parts. Thus only can he recon- 
cile divisions, secure his own position, and strike the death-blow 
at the designs of the Spaniard. 

Such were the lofty motives wherewith Henry of Nai 
was to be determined, such the most disinterested grounds that 
could justify his abandonment of the religion which. 

An appeal to . . . .. . . D .... 

low consider- to use his own expression, lie had imbibed with Ins 

mother's milk ! Not a word as to deep-seated 
victions of duty, no attempt to refute the close logic by means 
of which reformers had fortified their positions, no pretence <«f 
demonstrating the truth of the doctrine of transnbstantiation, 
the efficacy of the mass as a sacrifice for the living and the dead. 
the existence of purgatory, the utility of good works, as the 
means of supplementing the work of Jesus Christ in the justi- 
fication of the believer, the authority of tradition as equal with 
the authority of revelation, the lawfulness of worshipping saints 
and angels, the mediation of the Virgin Mary, the claim of the 
Bishop of Rome to a universal episcopate and to the dignity 
and attributes of a vicar of God on the earth. All these and 
similar matters were jauntily set aside with the general observa- 
tion that, after all, it was not the doctrinal tenets of the Ro- 
man Catholic Church to which the Protestant ministers were 
so obstinately opposed, but merely ceremonies and traditions. 


and these might be changed ! No wonder, then, that in the 
mind of one who took so conveniently superficial a survey, the 
whole matter virtually resolved itself into this proposition — 
that the king's position could never be anything else than one 
of extreme discomfort so long as he deferred the politic step of 
professing the Roman Catholic religion. 

That these were practically the views of the Roman Catholics 

of Henry's party, that the considerations set forth in the paper 

were essentiallv those that influenced Henry himself to take the 

important step at Saint Denis, two years later, there seems not 

to be room to doubt. It was quite another thing, 

TheRemon- • t i i 

etrance sup- however, tor an anonymous writer to divulge the state 


of the matter to the world. And so the authorities, 
at once upon its appearance, took strenuous measures to pre- 
vent the accomplishment of those ulterior ends at which this 
untimely publication apparently aimed. Any further printing 
or sale of it was forbidden on pain of death. As to the two 
hundred copies which had already issued from the press, so 
thorough and so successful was the search instituted for them, 
so remorseless the destruction, that not a single one, so far as is 
known, has come down to our times. 1 Nor was this all. Lest 
any copies of the pestilent treatise should have escaped, and in 
order to counteract the pernicious influence which such senti- 
ments as were there expressed might exercise, the production of 
the " tiers parti " was subjected to candid but merciless criticism 
in several contemporary pamphlets. One of the ablest of these 
answers, preserved by the discriminating care of the editor of 
that invaluable collection, the " Memoires de la Ligue," well de- 

1 See DeThou, vii. (book 101) 778, 781, and Cayet, Chronologienovenaire 
(Ed. Michaud et Poujoulat), 295. Happily, although, according to Cayet, but 
f two hundred copies were printed, and these seem all to have been destroyed, 
two manuscript copies have been preserved at Paris, the one in the Library of 
the Arsenal, vol. 176, with which Ranke was acquainted (see the summary in 
'? Civil Wars and Monarchy in France," Amer. edit., pp. 473, 474), and the 
other in the National Library, Dupuy Coll., 337. Stahelin has inserted a 
translation of this in his Uebertritt Konig Heinrichs IV. . 301-309, which I have 
used in the text. See also pages 298-300, and 319 of the work last mentioned. 
From the answer to which reference is made below, it appears that the author 
of the " Advis " took the '" nom de plume " of Juste, or Justus. 


serves to be read as an illustration of the usual superiority of 
the Protestant controversial papers of the sixteenth century 
over the corresponding works of their opponents. 1 

Meantime the king, while keeping his eyes and ears open to 
the suspicious deportment of Cardinal Bourbon and the new 
" tiers parti," did not think it necessary to employ against so 
The king's weak a personage as the prelate any more severe 
Sfnars* weapon than his keen mother- wit. When Bourbon, 
pretensions, overcome with shame that the secret of his intrigues 
at Rome and their disastrous failure had gotten abroad, fell sick, 
Henry, who had in his hands the proofs of the cardinal's treach- 
ery in writing, did not hesitate to visit him and administer such 
comfort as his bantering words were calculated to impart. 
" Take courage, cousin," said he, with a cheery laugh ; " it is true 
that you are not yet king, but it is possible that you will be, 
after me." 2 

The Declaration of Saint Cloud, made on the fourth of 
August, 1589, immediately after the accession of Henry the 
Fourth, contained, it will be remembered, a petition on the part 
of his Roman Catholic nobles that his majesty would allow them 
to send to Rome an envoy, who might explain to the pope the 
motives that had actuated them in their recognition of the new 
king, and might obtain the pontiff's advice in return. 3 We have 
seen how courteously Sixtus granted an audience to Monsieur de 
Luxembourg, Duke of Piney, whom the nobles sent in accord- 
ance with the king's permission. 4 But Luxembourg was able to 
effect little or nothing, and returned to France. 5 Even then. 

1 It bears the title " Response a. l'instance et proposition que plusieurs font, 
que pour avoir une paixgenerale et bien establie en France, il faut que le Roy 
change de Religion et se renge a celle de l'Eglise Romaine." Memoires de la 
Ligue, iv. 700-732. 

2 "Mon cousin, prenez bon courage ; il est vrai que vous nVtes pas encore 
roi ; mais le serez possible apres moi." Biographie universelle (Paris, 18T-3 . ? 
348, 349, article Bourbon, Charles de. 

3 See above, chapter xi., p. 175. 

4 Above, chapter xi., p. 210. 

5 " Olivarez [the Spanish ambassador at Rome] obliged the pope to sen 1 
away Luxembourg, though it were only under the pretext of a pilgrimage to 
Loretto." Ranke, History of the Popes, 224. Yet, according to the Instruc 


however, he had not given up all hope, but had written, immedi- 
ately after reaching home, a very full paper to the college of 
cardinals. Hearing that the opposition of some enemies of his 
mission had prevented this communication from being laid be- 
fore the conclave, he even wrote a farther letter to the prelate 
who might be chosen pope. The person whom he had intrusted 
with the duty of delivering this missive reported that Gregory 
the Fourteenth not only received it kindly, but gave him to un- 
derstand that he would answer it and make such provision as he 
might deem most advisable. 1 These assurances the pope ful- 
filled by sending his nuncio to the Parisians with exhortations 
to persevere in their rebellion, with pledges of monthly remit- 
tances of money, and promises of the speedy advent of a large 
The pope in- auxiliary force ; and, not least of all, with the two 
jJJJJJSii? bulls WQ * cn not on ly declared the French king to be 
rebellion. an excommunicated heretic, but threatened with ec- 
clesiastical censures and all the severity of an offended judge 
the entire body of Henry's adherents, of whatsoever rank or 
profession, churchmen and laymen, nobles or roturiers! 

Who could have believed that those thus menaced and con- 
demned would, notwithstanding, renew the proposals so con- 
temptuously rejected, or that the king who had been repelled and 
abused would himself deign to take part in the negotiations ? 2 

Yet this is what actually came to pass. In the first place, 
Luxembourg, swallowing his pride as best he might, addressed 
the new pope a letter from the royal camp before Chartres, on 

tions given by the French nobles to Luxembourg, July 7, 1591, when next re- 
quested to go to Italy, he accomplished at least one thing: " Tant s'en faut 
qu'elle [Sixtus V.] condamnast les susdits princes . . . qui avoient reconnu et 
suivoient le roy, que par un sien brief sur ce a eux despesche, elleleur donnoit 
sa benediction, louant ce qu'ils avoient fait entendre de leurs bonnes inten- 
tions en ce qu'ils avoient fait a l'entretenement de la religion Catholique, 
Apostolique et Romaine." Memoires de Nevers, ii. 515. 

1 "Copie des lettres missives envoyees de la part du Seigneur Due de Lux- 
embourg au Pape," dated "au Camp devant Chartres, 1 ' April 8, 1591, in 
Memoires de la Ligue, iv 374-378, and Memoires de Nevers, ii. 529-532. 

2 This pertinent question I take from E. Stahelin, Uebertritt Konig Hein- 
richs IV., 2fi7, who justly remarks that Henry's conduct on this occasion is 
significant of his inner views and plan. 

Vol. II.— 17 


the eighth of April, to accompany a more formal congratulatory 
address sent in the name of such of the nobles as were there 
present, felicitating him upon his assumption of the tiara. 
m. de lux- Conveniently feigning incredulity as to the report that 
Stterllfthe Gregory had promised aid to the rebellious Parisians, 
pope ' and expressing the hope that the nuncio now sent 

might act a better part than the envoys who had preceded him, 
Luxembourg reminded the pontiff of the notable change which 
had come over the mind of Sixtus the Fifth. Deceived, at 
the commencement of his pontificate, by the artifices of the 
enemies of France, this pope began to espouse the interests of 
the League in good earnest ; but subsequently discovering his 
mistake, he applied himself to appeasing the civil dissensions 
of the kingdom. The writer stated that he had been assured 
from various quarters that Gregory had yielded to the persua- 
sions of the ministers and pensioners of Spain, but that he had 
steadily refused to give any credit to these stories ; for he re- 
membered that, having, on his return from Italy, met his holi- 
ness, then Cardinal Sfondrato, near Torniceri, in Tuscany, the 
latter, who was on his way to take part in the election of a suc- 
cessor to Sixtus the Fifth, had, among other things, made this 
remark : " It is necessary that the King of France be King of 
France, and the King of Spain be King of Spain ; for the 
greatness of the one will serve as a barrier to the ambition of the 
other." He warned the pope that the true Frenchmen, should 
they not only be abandoned but openly persecuted by the Holy 
See, might be forced to resort to strange alliances, alliances from 
which religion might be exposed to new perils. The prino 
the blood, dukes, peers, marshals, officers of the crown, and the 
entire nobility of France — indeed, all good Frenchmen — had 
no other intention than to remain always very Catholic ; and 
they hoped to be able by their services to oblige their king to 
recognize the truth of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic re- 
ligion, and to make profession of it after the example of all 
his predecessors. 1 

1 Memoires de la Ligue, and Memoires de Nevers, ubi supra. De Thou. vii. 


Nor was this all ; the Roman Catholic nobles of Henry's 
court resolved, two months later, to repeat the experiment of 
Dupieesis sending Luxembourg himself to endeavor to treat 
^ades y the 8 " with the pope. Indeed, Henry the Fourth at one 
wrifi^to ti me was strongly inclined to write in his own name 
Gregory. to Q. re g 0r y # jj e thought it best, however, first to 
consult Duplessis Mornay on the propriety of the action, and 
the reply he received was strongly adverse. It is of great im- 
, portance to please the pope, said the Huguenot counsellor, but 
the favor of God is of still greater moment. The mere writing 
of a letter is a trifling matter — one can write to anybody — but 
the king must make use of the customary forms, or he will only 
give displeasure. He must call the pope his " very holy father ; " 
he must humbly kiss his feet and do him homage, and so doing 
he will recognize him as the head of the Christian Church. 
Report will exaggerate the action and make it still worse. Far 
better were it to let the French cardinals and those of their belief 
address Gregory. Let them complain of Sixtus for having sent 
Cardinal Cajetan, and of the present legate (the Bishop of Pia- 
cenza) for conspiring with the Spanish ambassador to overturn 
the kingdom, and for consorting with rebels against the au- 
thority of the lawful sovereign. 1 

But if Duplessis Mornay succeeded by his remonstrances in 
dissuading the Huguenot king from addressing an undignified 
and fruitless appeal to the chief ecclesiastic of a system which 
he still professed to regard as corrupt, if not anti-Christian, he 
did not prevent him from taking such a part in the proposed 
mission of Luxembourg that the official instructions drawn up 
for his guidance bore this attestation of his majesty's approval : 
" Done at Mantes, the king being present, by deliberation of 
the aforesaid princes, as well of the blood as others, of the 
dukes, peers, chancellor, marshals of France, and other officers 
of the crown, archbishops, bishops, prelates, and lords of the 
council assembled for this purpose, I, the undersigned, secretary 

1 " Advis sur la formalite d'escrire par le roi au pape, envoye a sa majeste, 
en 1591, apres le siege de Chartres," in Memoires de Duplessis Mornay, v. 


of state, being in attendance by their command and by the au- 
thority of the king, the seventh day of July, 1591." ' 

It is unnecessary here to rehearse all the arguments by which 
Luxembourg was to ply the pontiff, or the complaints he was to 
instructions lodge against a nuncio who, upon his arrival, had 
M e de r £uxem- g one straight to the Duke of Mayenne at Rheims, 
bourg. ^hus f rom tb. e start renouncing the character of a 

judge and assuming the attitude of a party to the quarrel. 2 
On one or two points, however, the explanations to be given to 
Gregory are worthy of attention. He was to be informed that 
it was no fault of Henry, that he had been prevented by the 
constant war waged against him from holding the assembly 
which he had promised to convene within six months after his 
accession to the throne. And Luxembourg, if questioned re- 
specting the king's disposition to be converted, was ordered to 
make reply that his Roman Catholic nobles had none but good 
hopes ; yet he was to add : " His majesty will never give to 
those that cover themselves with this pretext in their unjust 
uprising, the advantage of being able to boast that they have 
compelled him to do anything by force. If peace be restored 
to the realm, there will be an opportunity to propose to him 
the instruction to which he has shown a willingness to submit, 
not without hope of some good results. For he is not obstinate 
by nature." 3 Respecting the repeal of the proscriptive edicts 
of 1585 and 1588, Luxembourg was directed not only to plead 
the necessity of such an arrangement, that Roman Catholics 
and Protestants might live together without distrust, but to 

3 ll Instruction a Monsieur de Luxembourg, allant a Rome," in Memoires de 
Nevers, ii. 512-524. 

2 It is worthy of notice that the very first thing of which the pope was to be 
assured was, *' that the aforesaid lords and princes, as well ecclesiastics as 
others, hold it as altogether certain and determined that outside of the Cath- 
olic, Apostolic and Roman Church there is no salvation.'' 

3 " Mais il ne donnera jamais cet advantage a ceux qui se couvrent de en 
pretexte en leur injuste soutenement, de se pouvoir vanter de luy avoir fait 
faire quelque chose par force ; et que si la paix estoit en ce royanme. il y 
auroit lieu de luy proposer l'instruction a laquelle il a monstre vouloir se 
soumettre, non sans esperer quelque bon effet. Car il n'est point de naturel 
opiniastre." Ibid., ii. 520. 


point to the fact that, under the edicts of pacification which 
those proscriptive edicts had displaced, Henry the Third was 
able, by the judicious use of his patronage, to sap the very 
existence of the Huguenots. If we may believe the writers, 
" most of them were withdrawing from the party, or were 
bringing up their children in the Catholic religion, in order not 
to be deprived of the honors and dignities of the kingdom, of 
which they saw that they could not otherwise have a share ; so 
that it is evident that a few more years of patience would have 
brought them all back to the Catholic religion." * 

Nor did the Roman Catholic princes and nobles forget to 
throw out a vague hint that papal obstinacy, in rejecting their 
just requests, might bring about in France results as disastrous 
as those that had been witnessed in Germany, England, and else- 
where. " Despair," they significantly remarked, " often urges 
men on to actions of which, but for it, they would not have 
entertained a thought." a 

I have given this notice of Luxembourg's instructions, not 
that they were ever of practical moment, but simply to indicate 
the drift of thought with the nobles who, though Roman Cath- 
olics, were faithful to the king, and more particularly the ten- 
dencies, still latent, which were speedily to develop in the mind 
of Henry the Fourth himself. For, as a matter of fact, Lux- 
embourg, although he had been selected for the mission, and 
although letters were written in various directions to secure for 
him all possible support, 3 did not set out for Italy. The incon- 
gruity was too great between the conciliatory attitude which the 
French nobles were attempting to assume tow r ard the pope and 
the defiant attitude of the highest courts of law, staunch support- 
ers of Henry's claims, which called Gregory " soi-disant," " self- 
styled," pope, pronounced his bulls to be abusive and null and 
void, and offered a reward of ten thousand livres for the arrest 

'Ibid., ii. 521. 2 Ibid., ii. 522. 

3 Five letters, addressed bj the French nobles to the pope's nephew, to sev- 
eral cardinals, to the French ambassador, to the Republic of Venice, and to the 
Grand Duke of Tuscany, respectively, are given in the Memoires de TSTevers, 
ii. 526-528. Henry IV. himself wrote in advance, July 7, 1591, to the Duke 
of Retz, respecting Luxembourg's expected coming. Lettres missives, iii. 417. 


of his nuncio, Landriano. " The royalist parliament," says De 

Thou, " opposed this embassy, on the ground that the decrees 

that forbade sending to Rome, and that declared 

Parliament ob- _ ° 

jectstohis Gregory the fourteenth an enemy or the realm, were 
too recent. The Duke of Piney (Luxembourg) him- 
self declined to fulfil this commission ; and accordingly the 
matter was deferred until, the aspect of affairs having changed, 
Cardinal Pierre de Gondy and Jean de Yivonne, Marquis of 
Pisany, went on an embassy to Rome." ' 

Meantime the course of events had at length convinced the 
king that he must grant to the Protestants that tardy justice 
for which Duplessis Mornay and other representative men had 
Henry an- long been clamoring. It was at Mantes, on the banks 
purpo 8 e eo h f iR of tne Seine, and early in the month of July, 1591, 
totheProtet tnat ne announced his purpose to the royal council, 
tants. And first, in order to disarm prejudice, and to defeat, 

so far as might be, the designs of the pope and his mischief-mak- 
ing nuncio, Henry made a declaration, intended not merely for 
the persons present, but for publication as a solemn edict, w con- 
Thedeciara- cerning the intention which he lias to maintain the 
teTjui Man " R° man Catholic and Apostolic Church and Religion 
1591. j n this realm, together with the rights and ancient 

liberties of the Gallican Church." lie again referred to the 
first acts after his accession, especially to his declaration of 
Saint Cloud, that there was nothing he more heartily dc~ 
than the convocation of a holy and free council for the settle- 
ment of the points in dispute ; that for himself he had no ob- 
stinacy or presumption, but intended more willingly than ever 
to receive all good instruction that might be given him: and 
that, should God do him the favor to show him if he were in 
error, he purposed embracing what he might see to be com- 
manded of God and for his own salvation. At the same time he 
had pledged his word and his oath neither himself to make, nor 
to suffer to be made by others, any change or innovations re- 
specting the Roman Catholic Church, but, on the contrary, to 

1 De Thou, vii. (book 101), 802. Stahelin ; Uebertritt Konig Heinrichfl IV. 

273) seems to suppose that Luxembourg actually went ou this mission. 


conserve and maintain all its authority and privileges. This de- 
claration must have satisfied all who had taken up arms osten- 
sibly for the defence of their faith, had they not in reality been 
animated by a desire to aggrandize themselves — as was suffici- 
ently indicated by the compacts into which they had entered for 
the invasion of the kingdom in conjunction with the King of 
Spain and the dukes of Savoy and Lorraine. Sixtus the Fifth, 
after having at first been imposed upon, learned, before his 
death, to see through their designs ; but the present pope, a 
man of an entirely different character, had, upon the simple 
assertion of the French rebels that the king was conspiring 
against the Catholic religion, and that he rejected all instruction, 
held him to be incapable of receiving that instruction. More- 
over, he had sent a nuncio, who had entered France without the 
king's knowledge or consent, the bearer of bulls fulminated 
against the monarch as well as against the loyal princes, eccle- 
siastics, and officers. In view of these facts, Henry reiterated 
his desire to be instructed by a free council, and renewed his 
oath for the maintenance of the established church ; enjoining 
it upon the parliaments and the prelates of the kingdom, as 
being their proper and legitimate function, that they should 
take cognizance of the offence committed by the nuncio, and 
should adopt appropriate measures for the maintenance of the 
recognized privileges of the Gallican Church. 1 

The king followed this declaration with a long and forcible 
address, intended to convince any members of his council who 
might be ignorant, of the absolute necessity of an edict in be- 
half of the Protestants. 

"Every one knows," said he, "under what fatal auspices my 
predecessor revoked the edict of 1577, at the solicitation of the 
Henry's forci- au tliors of the present troubles, who had extorted from 
bie address, \ x i m fay f orce edicts on other subjects also. What 
disasters did not this revocation entail ! At length, to escape 
imminent ruin, Henry the Third was constrained to unite with 

1 " Lettres patentes du roy, contenans declaration de rintentionqu'il a pour 
maintenir l'eglise et religion catholique, ' etc. Mantes, July 4, 1591, in Mi- 
moires de la Ligue, iv. 387-392 ; De Thou, vii. 791, 792. 


those very Protestants whom the rebels wished to destroy and 
annihilate. And he entered into a truce with them, solely for 
the purpose of effecting this union, which was so greatly desired, 
and of which the event demonstrated the utility, without, how- 
ever, repealing the edicts issued against my person and my ad- 

" These prospective edicts have been condemned and abol- 
ished, as it were, by common consent. In fact, if they retained 
the force of law, I, to whom you show such marks of attachment 
and fidelity as lawful heir of the crown, should have forfeited 
my rights to the throne; the Protestants would merit no favor: 
you yourselves would deserve punishment as traitors, since, by 
your courage and your exertions you have opposed the progress 
of those who base their pretensions on these edicts and have 
prevented their success. These men must therefore be resi>tc<l 
by means of other edicts, and of an ancient law, to annul the 
new law; in order that our royal dignity and our rights be not 
contested, that the Protestants may enjoy the rights poss< 
by our Catholic subjects, and, finally, that you yourselves may 
be able to render us the obedience which is our due, and live in 
peace with the Protestants, who, under the eyes and with the 
consent of all men not blinded by party hatred, claim these 
same rights despite the edicts — it is not proper that such a 
state of things should any longer be tolerated. In fact, nothing 
is more pernicious in a state than to suffer the existence of fac- 
tions, the inexhaustible source of disturbance ; especiallv when 
he who ought to administer justice impartially, allows himself 
to be drawn in the one or the other direction, by prejudice or 
favor. Is it not better for us to lay down the law for the 
Huguenots, than to have it laid down by them \ It is to be 
feared that there may arise among them a party leader, such as 
formerly was Admiral Coligny, who, by presenting a petition to 
the king in the name of all, earned the title of Protector of the 
Protestants — a title which he retained throughout his life. But 
since the laws of the realm have called us alone to the royal 
dignity, our glory demands that we should not tolerate the 
presence of a number of kings in F ranee ; for party leaders are 
kings, so to speak. Public security and the quietness of the 


state demand that all our subjects, being united under a single 
prince and under the authority of his officers, should together 
obey the laws they administer. 

"We have," he added, "still more urgent reasons for conced- 
ing this edict to the Protestants. You are not ignorant of the 
fact that the Queen of England and the princes of the Empire, 
soon to arrive at the head of an auxiliary army, will not fail to 
make exorbitant demands, in order to obtain conditions favor- 
able for the French Protestants. How far will they not carry 
their claims, should this matter at their coming remain in its 
present state ? "What shall we be able to refuse them with pro- 
priety, especially under circumstances in which their prayers, 
supported by the presence of a large army, will in some fashion 
be commands ? It is for our interest not to have these foreign 
troops for enemies. We must therefore anticipate their requests ; 
we must abolish and annul those violent and bloody edicts which 
have done so much damage, in order to revive that salutary edict 
which our predecessor of glorious memory used to call peculiarly 
his own edict. We ardently desire, therefore, that you should 
concur with us in so necessary a plan as this. It is the sole 
means of parrying the extraordinary requests which the Prot- 
estant princes are ready to make of us. Nothing can be more 
conformable to justice and reason. Those who think otherwise 
must condemn the war in which we are engaged for the defence 
of the state. They seek only an opportunity to sow divisions 
among you." 1 

The gathering of nobles whom Henry addressed was a large 
and imposing one, including not merely his ordinary council, 

but also a considerable body of ecclesiastics of the 
bon aione highest rank, and many of the most influential lords 

and statesmen. The Huguenot king was gratified to 
find that his remarks were received on all sides with respectful 
silence and evident approval. The young Cardinal Bourbon 

1 De Thou, vii. (book 101) 792-793. The historian, who took a leading part 
in carrying out this measure, and was, as he tells us, present when the king 
made his address, is an unimpeachable authority for the words and sentiments 
uttered on the occasion. 


was the solitary exception. He seemed to feel himself called 
upon to espouse the cause of intolerance, evidently expecting 
that others would follow his lead. He loudly exclaimed that 
a Very Christian kingdom could not stand this motley crew of 
religious sects. These new doctrines, he said, were a poison, 
and France would never cease to be convulsed so long as she 
harbored them. A good deal more he added, making up in the 
warmth of his expressions for his lack of eloquence. Then he 
rose as if to leave the room. To his surprise not a man stirred 
— neither the Archbishop of Bourges, nor the Bishops of Nan- 
tes, of Maillezais and of Bayeux. As a demonstration in favor 
of the tiers parti, Cardinal Bourbon's angry speech was a fail- 
ure, complete and almost ludicrous. His royal cousin contempt- 
uously bade him resume his seat, and the discomfited prelate 
was forced to be a witness to the enactment of a law in favor of 
the Protestants which he was powerless to prevent. 1 

In the edict that was next read and approved, the words 
"Huguenot," "Reformed," "Protestant," " those of the relig- 
Henryabro- i° n ?" an d their equivalents were conspicuously absent. 
^edictlTof Henry simply abrogated the pernicious edicts of July. 
July," 1585, and July, 158S, and restored to their full vigor 

the edicts of pacification previously existing — that is to say. the 
Edict of Poitiers, of September, 1577, as modified in some of 
its provisions by the secret articles of Bergerac and the confer- 
ence of Xerac, and virtually re-enacted at the p 
theedictsof of Fleix. There was not a syllable in the document 

pacification. . 

to give orrence to the most sensitive conscience or a 

loyal Roman Catholic. Henry dealt with sell-evident truths 
the quiet and fair prospects of the kingdom under the previous 
legislation, the foreign conspiracy for its overthrow, the un- 
scrupulous methods pursued by the enemies of the crown t«» 
compel Henry to repeal his edicts of pacification, the disasters 
flowing from the intolerant Edict of Nemours, the unmixed 
evil for which the Edict of Union was accountable, culminating 
in the execrable assassination of Henry of Valois. It was an 
obvious inference, from the mere mention of these events, that 

Ibid., ubi supra; Mezeray. iii. 9C8. in Stahelin, 291 ; Davila, 498. 


the repeal of the laws which had occasioned all this misery was 
not only proper but necessary. Their very memory ought to be 
consigned to everlasting oblivion. Henry would have been 
false to the traditions of the period, had he failed to style " ir- 
revocable'' his revocatory edict itself, but this designation was 
limited, in point of fact, by a sentence inserted at the sugges- 
tion of the historian De Thou, as he informs us, and couched 
in the following terms: "All this provisionally, until that it 
may please God to give us the grace to reunite our subjects by 
the establishment of a good peace in our kingdom, and to pro- 
vide for the matter of religion, in pursuance of the promise 
which we made at our accession to the crown." ' 

The Protestants might have had somewhat to find fault with 
in an edict wherein the king, their professed fellow-believer, 
Henr s atti- seeme d t° figure altogether as a stranger to their 
tude. faith, making no reference, from beginning to end, 

to their common religion, while on the other hand he did not 
hesitate to speak of " the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman re- 
ligion," quite as though he were one of its adherents. But the 
Protestants were already well used to such cavalier treatment 
at the hands of the king for whom they had fought and bled, 
and the coming Abjuration was already throwing distinct and un- 
mistakable shadows before it. The eloquent La Roche 
chandieu Chandieu, companion of Henry and of D' Amours at 

dies of grief. , 

Coutras, foresaw the approaching catastrophe, and the 
faithful Huguenot minister, it is said, died of grief at the mel- 
ancholy prospect. 2 

1 " Edit du roy, contenant restablissement des edits de pacification, faitz par 
le deffunct roy Henri troisiesme sur les troubles de ce royaume," Mantes, July 
1591, in Memoires de la Ligue, iv. 383-6. See Recueil des choses mcmorables, 
738 ; De Thou, vii. 793, 794. 

2 " Voila le roi a, la inesse nouvelle," writes Agrippa d'Aubigne (iii. book iv. 
c. 10, p. 363) referring to the events of the abjuration in 1593, " qui fut moins 
estrange, comme preveue par plusieurs, et entr'autres par la Roche-Chandieu, 
qui en mourut de desplaisir." — This eminent Huguenot minister — " ce grand 
personage," as Beza styles him — died greatly regretted February 23, 1591, as 
we learn from a very interesting MS. letter of Beza to Viscount Turenne, 
dated Geneva, March 9 (O. S.), 1591, first printed in the Bulletin de la 
Societe de l'histoire du Protestantisme francais, i. 277-279. 


Meantime, thankful at least to be freed from the legal penalties 
which, though unexecuted, still hung over their heads, the Protes- 
tants welcomed with delight an edict which definitely proclaimed 
the most loyal part of the nation to be no longer outcasts. 1 

Jacques Auguste de Thou was intrusted with the honorable 
and important duty of securing the registration of the king's 
two edicts by the loyal court that claimed to be the true Par- 
liament of Paris, although now sitting at Tours, and obtaining 
a declaration from this body respecting the actions of the pope 
and his intrusive nuncio similar to that made by the judges at 
Chalons. In both respects he was successful. Not only did 
the individual members of the Parliament of Tours declaim 
with learning and eloquence against papal aggression, recall- 
ing more than one historical event to support their rhetoric, 
ThePariia- but tne y j " 1 ^ rendered a decree, on the fifth of 
Sun f c Is°the August, in which, going even farther than their 
SeS the d reg " ^ retnren °^ Chalons, they declared "Gregory, self- 
edict. styled pope, fourteenth of the name, to be an enemy 

of peace, of the unity of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic re- 
ligion, of the king and his estate;" and, moreover, "an adhe- 
rent of the conspiracy of Spain, an abettor of rebels, guilty of the 
very cruel, inhuman and detestable parricide treacherously per- 
petrated on the person of Henry the Third, king of very blessed 
memory, Very Christian and Very Catholic." The next day the 
edict in favor of the Protestants was registered. The same for- 
mality had been observed at Chalons about a fortnight earlier.* 

It must not, however, be supposed that the Parliament of 
Paris, now completely overawed by the League, suffered these 
Retaliatory and other similar decrees of courts whose legal ex- 
re C S n pariia e istence it denied, to pass unnoticed. A war of retali- 
ment at Paris. ator y d ec i s ions arose. As the Chalons judges had or- 
dered the burning of the pope's bulls, so the Paris judges di- 
rected the public executioner to tear in pieces and burn publicly 

1 " Je loue Dieu," wrote Duplessis Mornay to his friend De Thou, July 18, 
1591, "qu'elle ait este mise en vos mains pour Papporter a Tours." M< moires, 
v. 64. 

2 See "Arrest de la cour de parlement seante a Tours," August 5, 1691, in 
Mc moires de la Ligue, iv. 393-395, De Thou, vii. 794-799, and Davila. 503. 


an order upon which they heaped every opprobrious epithet, 
and which they forbade all men from obeying. 1 

The Protestants had at length gained some part of their 

rights, though far less than they had good reason to expect 

under a king of their own faith. The edict in their favor was 

provisional. The mixed courts to secure justice for 

Scanty justice * , , , . •' . 

done to the Protestants m their suits with Roman Catholics, were 

Huguenots. ... , , i -n -i • f -r» 

not again instituted as under the Jidict or ±>ergerac. 
The Parliament of Tours openly maintained that the practice 
of Henry the Third — who, while pledging the Huguenots by his 
edict equal admission with Roman Catholics to all offices and 
dignities, had taken good care never to appoint them to such 
offices and dignities — must serve as the rule under his successor 
as well. In short, the inferiority in the eye of the law to 
which the adherents of the Reformed doctrines had been con- 
demned was apparently to be maintained indefinitely. 2 

A convocation of the French hierarchy at Chartres followed 
the example set by the laity, and, two months later, solemnly 
pronounced the bulls of the pope, who was " badly informed," 
to be null and void ; but concluded the declaration with an ex- 
Deciaration of hortation to all the f aithf ul that their prayers should 
chaSref y at ascen d to Almighty God that He would deign to in- 
duce Henry to become a Roman Catholic, "as, from 
the time of his accession to the crown, he gave us reason to 
hope that he would do." 3 

Xot content, however, with making this declaration, and thus 
fulfilling the sole object for which they had been convened by 
the king, the clergy undertook some other matters which but too 
clearly revealed the hand of Cardinal Bourbon and the intrigu- 
ing " tiers parti." They begged permission of his majesty to 
write and send an envoy to the very pope whose bulls they had 
just condemned, whom the Parliaments of Tours and Chalons 

1 De Thou, vii. 799. See also a later " arret" of December 22, 1591, in 
Memoires de la Ligue, iii. 397-899. 

8 Duplessis Mornay to Turenne, October 3, 1591, Memoires, v. 84 ; Benoist, 
i. 80, 81 ; Stahelin, 293, 294. 

3 " Declaration du clerge de France," Chartres, September 21, 1591, in 
Memoires de Duplessis Mornay, v. 72-75. 


had pronounced an enemy of peace and an abettor of the assas- 
sins of the late king, and on the head of whose legate a price 
had been set. They resolved to defer to some future time the 
consideration of the order to be established for the provision of 
benefices throughout the kingdom — the very thing to which, 
above all others, they ought to have applied themselves in the 
present anomalous state of the ecclesiastical relations of France. 
They had the audacity to propose that parliament be forbidden 
to take cognizance of any disturbances in the religious relations 
of the realm, thus robbing the supreme court of one of its im- 
memorial rights. All this was but prefatory to the request 
that Henry would allow himself to be instructed and become a 
Roman Catholic, and that he would look with favor upon the 
undertaking of the clergy to make peace — " as if,*' wrote the 
indignant Duplessis Mornay, " as if the king were not striving 
for that very thing, and had not declared that for every step 
taken by others toward him, he was ready to take four steps 
toward them ! " 1 The action of the assembled prel- 

Parliament i • i i «i • iii 

resents their ates effected uotliing but to exhibit more clean v the 

usurpation. . .. . 

trouble which the clergy stood ready to give on oc- 
casion. Parliament justly resented the assembly's attempt to 
usurp the functions of the most august tribunal of the realm. 
Henry was firm in rejecting the proposal to confer upon ec 
siastics the office of umpires in settling the terms of peace. Bat 
although the convocation of the clergy at Chartres was so bar- 
ren of practical results, it ought not to be forgotten that one 
remarkable suggestion was made and considered during the 
sessions. Excommunicated as were the prelates by the terms 
of Gregory's monitorial bulls, for not having renounced their 
fealty to the king within fifteen days after the papal notifica- 

1 The principal authority for the articles of the assembly of Chartres is the 
" Depesche envoyee de Tours par M. Duplessis au Roy, le 3 Octobre 1591," 
in the Memoires de Duplessis Mornay, v. 85, etc., together with the memorial 
sent by the same person to the Parliament of Tours to set forth the assault 
made upon its authority (ibid., v. 89-94V The service thus rendered to the 
supreme court won for him the thanks of the judges and an invitation to con- 
fer with them at Tours. See also the Vie de Duplessis Mornay (Ley den, 
1647), 161. 


tion, and precluded as they were by decree of parliament from 
sending to Rome for any of those purposes for which the au- 
thority of the See of St. Peter was supposed to be necessary, it 
was gravely proposed that the French Church should cut loose 
from Italy by recognizing as its head a Patriarch of its own. 
The institu- ^ e are assured that the single great obstacle that 
Frenctipatri- prevented the realization of the plan was the ina- 
archproposed -bility of Cardinal Bourbon, who had never received 
priestly orders, to obtain the coveted dignity. The Archbishop 
of Bourges, upon whom the choice would naturally have fallen l 
as the highest of the ecclesiastical dignitaries who had espoused 
the royal side, and as the only French prelate already enjoying 
the titular rank of Patriarch, not only would have been glad to 
accept the rank, but exerted all his influence to secure it. Bour- 
bon, however, would not permit his brother archbishop to get 
the prize which he himself could not attain. 2 

Meantime the royal arms had been far from unsuccessful. 
After a long siege, lasting from February to April, Henry him- 
self had captured Chartres, a city of great importance 

Henry takes . r .. 7 , J .,, i «. 

chartres and in the present crisis, h or Pans was still pressed for 

want of the necessaries of life. Corbeil and Lagny, 

again in their opponents' hands, cut off from the inhabitants of the 

capital their sources of supply along the upper Seine, but hith- 

1 Strictly speaking, the title of primate was regarded as belonging either to 
the Archbishop of Sens or to the Archbishop of Lyons. The claim of the 
former seems to have been the best, and he was "Primat des Gaules et de 
Germanie ;" the archbishop of the larger and more populous city, however, 
gradually made good his claim throughout the greater part of the kingdom 
(see Rise of the Huguenots, i. 118). But the Archbishop of Bourges alone 
had the advantage of being styled Patriarch. "Les ennemis de ce prelat, 
qui etoit deja Patriarche — dignite qui n'apartient en France qu'au seul Arche- 
veque de Bourges — disoient," etc., De Thou, viii. (book 103), 78. 

2 "Et peut-estre que le cardinal y eust consenty, s'il eust eu les qualites 
requises pour l'estre luy mesme ; mais comme il n'estoit pas pretre, et qu'ainsi 
il eust este contrainct de ceder cet honneur a un autre, il rejetta cet expe- 
dient et traita mal de paroles l'Archeveque de Bourges, qui dans l'imagination 
qu'il avoit, que cette dignite luy appartenoit a cause du titre de Primat attache 
a son siege, briguoit de toutes ses forces de le faire agreer a l'assemblee." 
Mezeray, Histoire de France, iii. 968, apud Stahelin, 328. 


erto the rich " pays chartrain " had somewhat made up the de- 
ficiency. The preachers endeavored to quiet the popular alarm 
at the tidings that the granary of Paris was threatened, by 
assuring them that Henry would not accomplish his undertak- 
ing. An Italian monk, in a Lenten address on Shrove Tuesday, 
in the Sainte Chapelle, pledged his soul's salvation that Char- 
tres would never be captured. 1 The denizens of Chartres were 
almost equally assured of a favorable issue ; for was not their 
city the only one in Christendom that could boast of being the 
fortunate possessor of the ancient Druidical image upon which 
was the prophetical inscription, carved long before the advent 
of Christ, or, indeed, the birth of the Virgin Mary, foretelling 
the miraculous Incarnation ? 2 And was not the virtue emana- 
ting from the image so potent that, according to the popular 
belief, a soldier's shirt which had been placed upon it became 
instantly proof against the deadliest blows of the enemy, nay, 
even against cannon-balls — in attestation of the truth of which, 
numerous garments supposed to have saved their owners' lives 
were hung, in lieu of tapestry, on the walls of the shrine 1 3 But 
the " Yirgo paritura " of Chartres seemed to be as deaf to the 
supplications of her devotees, as Sainte Genevieve had been to 
the litanies of the Parisians on occasion of the attack upon 
Saint Denis. On the nineteenth of April, just ten days after 
the Italian's venturesome assertion, Chartres surrendered to 
the royal army, 4 and the preachers had to content themselves 
with venting their impotent wrath in threats and imprecations. 
The " Politiques," as usual, came in for their full share of de- 
nunciation. Boucher said that they must all be killed ; Rose, 

1 Lestoile, ii. 50. 

2 See Rise of the Huguenots, i. 59. De Thou, vii. 777. 

5 "Les gens de guerre, craignant les coups, ont accoutume de vetir cette 
image d'une chemise de toile, laquelle puis apres ils portent en guerre, les uns 
dessus, les autres dessous leur harnois, ay ant cette opinion, que les coups de 
canon mcme ne les sauroient offenser. Et de fait, plusieurs ayant par hazard 
echappi de grands coups, y ont fait des tapisseries de leurs chemises ; mais," 
adds the writer, with quiet sarcasm, " celles qui sont percces demeurent en 
chemin." Beze, Histoire ecclcsiastique des Eglises Refornii'es, i. 108. 

4 Recueil des choses memorables, 735-737 ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 244, 
etc.; De Thou, vii. 777-782; Davila, 494-496. 


that a blood-letting after the fashion of Saint Bartholomew's 
Day was needed, and that the throat of the disease must be 
cut ; Commolet, that the death of the Politiques was the life of 
the Catholics. St. Andre offered to lead to the slaughter in 
person, while the truculent curate of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, 
apparently in disgust that his words excited derision rather than 
enthusiasm in the hearers, made bold to assert that all who 
laughed were Politiques, and that the men that hung about the 
street-corners waiting for news ought to be dragged to the 
banks of the Seine and drowned. 1 

The capture of Noyon followed that of Chartres — Noyon, 
that small city of northern France which, far from honoring 
the memory of John Calvin, has from that time to this ap- 
peared to experience deep shame at having given birth to one 
of the greatest minds of our modern civilization. But on the 
coast new perils threatened France. Philip of Spain had at 
length begun to send troops as well as money for the conquest 
of a country he hoped soon to call his own. His first venture 
was in the west, where, in the month of October, 1590, his fleet 
landed a body of Hve thousand Spanish soldiers in the commo- 
dious harbor of Blavet, where they were soon strong enough, 
with the assistance of the Duke of Mercceur, to assault and take 
the town of Hennebon. 2 The selection of the point of attack 
a Spanish was 110 ^ without a plan. Philip claimed to have in- 
Brittan ndsin herited the rights of his deceased wife, Isabella or 
Elizabeth of France, who was a great-granddaughter 
of that Anne de Bretagne who had brought to Louis the 
Twelfth the magnificent dowry of one of the great provinces of 
France. In the kingdom at large the Salic law might be, or 
might not be, what some Spaniards asserted it was, a mere legal 
fiction ; but there was no question that Brittany was a female 
fief, and could be held and transmitted by a woman. The roy- 
alists of France maintained, indeed, that the ancient duchy had 
been incorporated in the kingdom and could not be separated 
from it ; none the less was it a standing menace to Henry that, 

1 Lestoile, ii. 50. 

2 De Thou, vii. (book 99), 678, 679. 
Vol. II.— 18 


for a year, his arch-enemy had been entrenched on French 

But more inauspicious for the king than the Spanish foothold 
gained in southern Brittany, and quite effacing any success which 
his troops might lately have gained over Mercoeur in that prov- 
ince, was the death of one Huguenot soldier, fatally injured in 
the siege of the little town of Lamballe. Francois de 

Death of ^_ to . . * 

Franpoisdeia la JN oue was, it is true, a man or three-score, and it 

Noue, and . i i j /» i i • 

Franpoisde was many years since he had first made his courage to 
be respected by friend and foe alike in the war.- of 
the Low Countries. But the hero of so many battles, through 
which his iron arm had stood him in good stead, was as ardent 
and almost as strong as ever. Indeed, his devotion to the cause 
which, at great pecuniary expense and the cost of toils, wounds, 
and repeated imprisonments, he had maintained without flinch- 
ing, had rather grown than diminished. A Huguenot from 
deep conviction, his last hours reflected the serenity of a Chris- 
tian to whom death has no terrors. So long as he was able, lie 
listened with attention to one of his friends who, at his request, 
read to him those precious psalms which, whether in peace or 
in war, in the closet or on the battlefield, in sickness or in health, 
were never far frOm the thoughts or the lips of the ELuguei 
at any time betw r een the Reformation of the sixteenth century 
and the days of the Revocation and the " Desert." What had 
supplied enthusiasm to so many at the charge of Coutras or Ivry, 
now administered comfort to La Xoue at the close of life. 
When failing utterance gave him premonition of the near ap- 
proach of death, he directed his attendant to read him the words 
of Job respecting the resurrection, and when asked whether he 
believed this article of faith, he replied, with eyes upturned 
toward heaven, that as he had lived, so he now died in the hope 
that he would rise again from the dead. 1 "What rendered the 
king's loss still greater was that the death of Francois d< 
Noue, on the fourth of August, was followed, on the eighth of 

1 De Thou, a Roman Catholic, may serve as our voucher that the accounts 
of the peaceable end of La Xoue given by Protestant writers are not exagger- 
ated. Histoire universelle, viii. (book 102) 7, 8. 


October, by the death of Francois de Chatillon, the son of Ad- 
miral Coligny. 1 Ilenr} 7 could, at this critical period of his 
course, as little spare the young man in the dawn of a military 
career of extraordinary promise, as the veteran counsellor. 

Henry retained, however, some brave and successful captains, 
upon whose shoulders the mantle of La Xoue and Chatillon 
might worthily rest. Chief among these, doubtless, was Lesdi- 
Expioits of guieres, who, not satisfied with the capture of Gre- 
Lesdiguidres. no |)j e? never g re w tired of roaming through the high- 
er Alps, transporting his forces with the greatest celerity over 
roads so rough as almost to deter the peasant when he threaded 
his way on the sides of precipices with his sure-footed mule, and 
penetrating with apparent ease the mountain passes where the 
traveller, despite grand roads laid out by the highest engineer- 
ing skill of our times, is once and again tempted to turn back 
through fear or fatigue. One day he dashed down from the 
dizzy heights upon the plains of the Viennois and the banks of 
the Rhone, striking terror among the adherents of the League 
and encouraging the friends of the king. The next day he 
was on his way toward Provence, following up the steep 
course of the Drac to its springs, only to descend on the other 
side of the mountains by the sinuous Bench and Durance. Ef- 
fecting a junction with the forces of La Valette in the lower 
lands of Provence, he was soon afterward seen defeating the 

1 Frangois de Chatillon was only thirty-four years old when he died in his 
castle of Chltillon-sur-Loing. Some of his exploits have heen chronicled in 
these pages. He was an adept in military science, and had already made great 
attainments in mathematics and mechanics. According to De Thou, he contri- 
buted greatly to the capture of Chartres, and, at the time of his death, he was 
engaged in equipping vessels for the Indies. Henry the Fourth had appointed 
him Admiral of Guyenne, and the monarch showed his appreciation of his 
great merits by conferring the office upon his children. "He had," says the 
historian just referred to, " acquired so great a reputation, that men had no 
difficulty in believing that he would one day have surpassed the reputation of 
his father and grandfather in the profession of arms, had not death prevented 
it" Histoire universelle, viii. (book 102)46. See the account of his life in 
Haag, France protestante (new ed.), iv. 215-223, and especially Count Jules 
Delaborde's recent monograph, a model of conscientious and appreciative 


troops of the Duke of Savoy near Esparron, at the foot of the 
hills appropriately named " la chaine de Sainte Victoire," and 
pushing on for the relief of beleaguered Berre, under the very 
walls of disloyal Aix, to Marignane and the shores of the Medi- 
terranean Sea. He was almost as much at home on the eastern, 
as on the western slopes of the Alps. When he had succored 
the French garrison of Exilles, in the Italian valley of the Dora 
Riparia, he returned with equal expedition to Grenoble, in order 
that he might be in time to dispute the passage of the troops of 
the Duke of Savoy, reinforced by the mercenaries sent, at the 
pope's expense, from Rome and the Milanese. The beautiful 
stretch of the Gresivaudan, through which the Isere makes its 
way before issuing into the broader fields of Dauphiny, is said 
to have been celebrated for the extraordinary number of nobles 
Battle of who inhabited it. 1 The remarkable engagement, which 
septlmb^ig, now took place in the vicinity of the village of Pont- 
1591 ' charra, occurred at the very foot of the castle Bayard, 

the former home of the great general of Francis the First. Men 
thought that the spot had been purposely selected ; certain it 
was that the manes of the brave Pierre du Terrail, the knight 
without fear and without reproach, were placated by a slaughter 
of the enemies of France so complete as almost to baffle belief. 1 
On the day of the battle — the nineteenth of September — two 
thousand five hundred Savoyards were killed, while three hun- 
dred horsemen and almost all the colonels and captains were 
taken prisoners. On the morrow, two thousand men more, of 
the pope's forces, unable to make their way home, surrendered 
unconditionally. Five hundred were butchered by the pitiless 
soldiers before they could be stopped by the officers; the rest 
were sent back to Italy, having promised never again to bear 
arms against the King of France. The booty was immense — 
chains and collars of precious metal, money, and the like — to 

1 "La vallee de Gresivaudan, celebre par la quantite de noblesse qui 
l'habite." De Thou, viii. (book 102) 18. 

2 " Comme si on avoit eu dessein de les imnioler aux manes du brave Pierre 
du Terrail, surnomme Bayard, du noni de ce chateau qu'il avoit fait batir." 
Ibid., viii. 21. 


the value, it was estimated, of two hundred thousand crowns of 
gold. The French maintained that they themselves lost but 
four men killed and had but two men wounded. 1 

The jealousies that had long subsisted among the adherents 
of the League at Paris now broke out into an open flame. It 
was w r ell known that the mischievous legate of the pope, Sega, 
Bishop of Piacenza, recently created a cardinal, co-operating with 
the Spanish ambassador, Don Diego de Ibarra, was as anxious 
to further the designs of Philip the Second upon the crown of 
of France as was the ambitious Duke of Mayenne to thwart 
them and to secure the prize for himself. Early in ^November 
the legate set on foot a conspiracy which bore fruit about the 
middle of the month in a sanguinary tragedy intended to mani- 
fest to the world the impotence of the leader of the French 
portion of the League. To the success of the Spanish designs 
the Parliament of Paris constituted the most formidable ob- 
stacle. Judges who had not been loyal enough to forsake the 
capital and take their seats at Tours, in accordance with the 
command of Henry the Third, were nevertheless too patriotic to 
countenance a deliberate attempt to betray the country to a 
foreigner, and that foreigner one who had been an undisguised 
rival of Henry the Second and his sons. The seditious " Seize," 
who from being representatives of the sixteen quarters of Paris 
had come to aspire to figure as petty kings, and to manage the 
affairs of the nation, readily yielded to the legate's suggestions. 
Private resentment somewhat shaped the particular direction of 
the blow they struck. On his way to the parliament house, Bar- 
Murder of nabe Brisson, the first president of the highest judi- 
BriioiTby c ^ a l body in France, was suddenly arrested by agents 
the " seize." appointed for the purpose, and hurried off to the prison 
of the " Petit Chatelet." Crome, one of the " Sixteen " and the 
president's sworn enemy, soon presented himself and read to the 

1 "Discours de la desfaicte de l'armee du due de Savoye, faicte par le sei- 
gneur Les-diguieres en la plaine de Pontcharra, pres le chasteau de Bayard, 
vallee de Graisivodan, le 18 [19] jour du mois de Septembre 1591," in Memoires 
de la Ligue, iv. 666-671. Recueil des choses inemorables, 742. De Thou, viii. 
(book 102) 15-25. 


astonished magistrate a formal sentence, which condemned him 
to death as guilty of treason against God and man. Inquiries 
as to his judges, and the evidence whereon the writ was based, 
elicited sneers and expressions of amusement at Brisson's sim- 
plicity. The bystanders vouchsafed him only the advice that 
he should at once prepare to die, for his time was short. In- 
deed, scarcely had the unfortunate man the opportunity to 
make his confession to a priest, before he was hanged upon a 
ladder which served him in lieu of gallows. Two other judges, 
Larcher and Tardif — the former a councillor of parliament, the 
latter a councillor in the chatelet — shared Brisson's fate. Next 
day the three corpses were suspended in front of the Hotel de 
Yille, upon the fatal Place de Greve, with appropriate labels 
descriptive of their alleged crimes, and were exposed to the 
jeers and insults of the populace. 1 

Having by this exploit, as they fancied, humbled beyond 
measure both parliament and that portion of the League which 
Disloyalty of still "had the lilies of France engraven on their 
the "seize. 1 h ear t S) " the Sixteen turned to Spain with more con- 
fidence than ever that their treasonable purposes might be 
carried into effect. On the twentieth of November, 1591, 
five days after the murder of President Brisson, they signed 
and despatched, by the hands of Father Matthieu, a joint let- 
ter addressed to Philip the Second. The Jesuit had enjoyed 
rare experience in delicate matters of the kind ; happily fur the 
world, however, he was detected by the governor of Bourbon- 

J "Discours sur la mort de Monsieur le president Brisson, ensemble lea ar- 
rests donnez a l'encontre des assassinateurs, Paris, 1595." Reprinted in Cim- 
ber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, xiii. 319-331. The learned Etienn- 
quier has devoted two long letters (CEuvres, edit. Feugere, ii. 340-366), to the 
conspiracy against Brisson and the execution. Both papers are full of inter- 
esting details, and will repay a careful perusal. It was regarded as in some 
degree a just retribution that the first president, who had been too timid or 
too ambitious to espouse the side of the king, should have been described, in 
great capitals, as <k Barnabe Brisson, chief of the heretics and politiques. " 
One of his companions was stigmatized as "favorer of the heretics.' - the other 
as "an enemy of the holy League and the Catholic princes." See, also, De 
Thou, viii. (book 102) 36-41 ; Recueil des choses memorables, 743, 744 ; Les- 
toile, ii. 67, 68, etc. 


nais, while passing through that province, and his precious docu- 
ment fell under other eyes than those for which it was intended. 
Never had there heen such a revelation of the baseness of the 
ignoble junto which had usurped the reins at Paris and now 
undertook to dispose of the fortunes of the whole realm. 

The " Sixteen " began with profuse expressions of the obli- 
gations incurred by France toward Philip — obligations so great 
Their letter tuat to re P a y them would be impossible, so intimate 
s^^Novlin. tnat tne }' mllst re g ai 'd any Frenchman who did not 
ber 20, 1591. owu hi mse ]f to be f or all time the most obliged ser- 
vant of the Catholic king, and that king's posterity, as an en- 
emy of God, of religion, of the quiet and public peace of the 
state, nay, of all Christendom. Next, they deplored the gen- 
eral affliction of the house of God, the pollution of churches, 
the discontinuance of the mass, the persecution of the clergy, the 
loss of souls by reason of heresy, the city, as it were, deserted, 
the fair colleges empty, the university forsaken. Only the Fac- 
ulty of Theology continued to be well attended, that school 
which, both in Paris and throughout the kingdom, had, by its 
divine admonitions and exhortations, drawn closer the bonds of 
the holy union between the Catholic princes, lords, and people. 1 
They dwelt in particular upon the wretchedness to which Paris 
was reduced, and to which it must succumb unless relieved 
by his majesty of Spain. Over against great discouragements 
the writers set two signal blessings, vouchsafed by Heaven, 
of which the glad tidings had come to refresh their drooping 
spirits. The first was the new zeal displayed by Philip himself, 
and by him enkindled in the Roman pontiff ; the second was 
the deliverance from captivity, in which he had languished ever 
since the tragedy of Blois, " of that young prince of Guise, son 
of the first martyr of his quality, in this kingdom, since these 
present persecutions excited against the Church." From Guise 
they affirmed that, in view of his long and unmerited sufferings 

1 Among the ills enumerated is an allusion to the misdeeds of Henry the 
Fourth, which may be quoted as a sample of the amenities of the original. 
The " Sixteen " speak of '* les sainctes vierges a Dieu sacrees, corrompues et 
violees par ce puant bouc et les siens." 


and his persecuted innocence, they entertained the highest ex- 
pectations that God would bless his efforts to the consumma- 
tion of His work in the good cause " under the shadow, favor, 
and aid of his Catholic majesty." Both of these items of good 
news had come in August, a month which, for a number of 
years past, they declared, God had, according to the meaning of 
the designation, rendered propitious to the cause of religion. 
It was in August, 1572, that Admiral Chatillon's conspiracies- 
being discovered, " he was ignominiously treated according to 
his demerits, and this realm and the states of your Catholic 
majesty in Belgian Gaul and Lower Germany were delivered 
from the invasion which the heretics contemplated making." 
It was in the same month, two years since, that besieged Paris 
was miraculously delivered by the strange and unlooked-for 
death of him who had been recognized asking, but, for his acts 
of perfidy toward God and man, had been rejected. And it 
was again in August, 1590, that the capital was rescued from 
the peril in which it stood, from traitors within and enemies 
without, by the opportune arrival of the Duke of Parma at a 
time when a delay of but three or four days more would have 
compelled surrender on the most miserable terms. 

But Paris was poor and exhausted. She had spent five mill- 
ion crowns of gold and over. For more than three years she 
had gathered nothing from her usual sources of income, from 
her lands and inheritances; her officers had received no waj 
and her merchants had had no trade. For upward of a year 
and a half she had been beset on all sides by an enemy who 
w r atched her so closely that nothing could come in save by acci- 
dent or force of arms, an enemy who would have ventured 
upon more decided measures but for the garrison which the 
King of Spain had been pleased to give to Paris. One thing. 
however, remained to be secured. France must have a mon- 
arch crowned with the accustomed rites, and for this monarch 
she looked to Philip's help. Indeed, according to the Sixteen, 
France wanted no other person than the occupant of the Es- 
corial to be her master. "We can certainly assure your Cath- 
olic Majesty," say they, "that it is the prayer and desire of 
all the Catholics to see your Catholic Majesty hold the seep 


tre of this crown and reign over us — accordingly we cast our- 
selves very gladly into your arms, as into those of our father 
— or else that you should here establish some one of your 
posterity. If it be more agreeable to you to give us another 
than yourself, let your majesty choose a son-in-law whom we 
shall receive as king and obey with all our best affections, 
with all the devotion and obedience a good and faithful people 
can render. For thus much do we hope from the blessing of 
God upon this marriage, that what we once received from that 
great and very Christian princess, Blanche of Castile, mother 
of our Christian and religious king Saint Louis, we shall re- 
ceive — nay, the double of it — from that great and virtuous 
princess, daughter of your Catholic Majesty, who for her rare 
virtues attracts to her the eyes of us all. " l 

By such words and more to the same effect did the Sixteen 
lav the crown of France, so far as their words and acts could 
lay it, at the feet of Philip, and give him very clearly to under- 
stand that it would please them marvellously w r ell should he 
condescend to give both that crown and the hand of the Infanta 
to the young Duke of Guise. 

There was one, however, who, though closely connected with 
Guise, did not participate in these views. It was notorious that 
the Duke of Mayenne had no desire to see the crown transferred 
either to Philip or to Philip's son-in-law, even should that son- 
in-law be Guise himself. But it was presumed that the blow 
struck at parliament would terrify him, or, at the very least, 
Mayenne compel him to acquiesce. Instead of this, one day he 
president made his appearance in the city, having suddenly left 
Soissons and deferred the junction which he was about 
to make with Parma and his auxiliary forces. Evidently he 
deemed it of more pressing importance to crush the sedition in 

1 The original of the letter of the " Sixteen " is found among the MSS. of the 
National Library at Paris (Fonds de Bethune, cote 9137). It was first pub- 
lished in 1830 by M. Paulin Paris in his Monumens inedits de l'histoire de 
France, in connection with the Correspondence of Charles IX. and Mandelot. 
De Thou, Lestoile, and the authors of the Satyre Menippee, while referring to 
this important document and quoting some of its most insulting expressions, 
were not, according to M. Paris, acquainted with the text itself. 


the capital than even to defeat the king himself. In vain did 
the Spanish ambassador intercede for the culprits, and from 
intercessions pass to open menaces ; the duke, having placed a 
faithful officer in command of the Bastile, proceeded to arrest the 
most obnoxious* of the Sixteen, and, on the fourth of December, 
one of the lower rooms of the Louvre witnessed the exemplary 
punishment of four men — two of them members of the council 
of the Sixteen, and the other two as deeply implicated in their 
bloody deeds — hanged to expiate the murder of President Uri.^- 
son and his companions. 1 The council of the Sixteen hence- 
forth ceased to be a power in the state. Parliament was able 
Fan of the to reassert itself. The time when an illegally consti- 
" seize." tuted commission could demand of the municipality 
of Paris the institution of a " chambre ardente " to make short 
work of heretics, and could secure the right to designate the 
members of the bloody tribunal, was passed. 2 Reason had be- 
gun to be heard in the councils of the League. 

Meanwhile the king, having recently obtained important ac- 
cessions of strength in answer to his appeals to Germany and to 
England, had resolved to complete the reduction of Normandy, 

1 See Pasquier's letters above referred to, and De Thou, viii. 42-44. Auie- 
line and Loucliard were put to death on this occasion, who. just two week 
fore, had signed their names to the joint letter of the Sixteen. Henry IV., 
on hearing that Mayenne had put out of the way four of the "Seize, 
marked that his cousin, the duke, had done well, but ought to have gone four 
degrees further (i.e., destroyed one-half of the council). Lestoile. ii. 75 

also, the " edict" given on the subject by Mayenne, December 10, 1501, un- 
der the title of "Abolition du due de Mayenne de ce qui s'est faict a. Paris. Bur 
la niort ignominieuse du President Brisson, les conseillers Larcher et Tardif," 
in the Memoires de la Ligue, v. 74-77. 

2 Among the u Articles sur lesquelz les Catholiques de Paris desirent leur 
estre presentement et promptement pourveu," presented by the " Sixteen ' to 
the prevot des marchands and echevins, November 15, 1591. the first 

" Quil soict promptement estably une chambre ardente de douze personnea 
qualifiez et grandes, d'ung president et ung substitut du procureur general et 
ung greffier, qui soient notoirement de la Sainte Ligue, pour fe [fairej les pro- 
ces aux heretiques, thraistres, leurs fauteurs et adherens, et qui seront noni- 
mez par le conseil des seize quartiers de ceste ville." To which the answer 
was: " Accorde que la nomination sera faicte par le bureau de la ville et de 
leur consentement. " Loutchitzky, Documents inedits pour servir a l'histoire 
de la Reforme et de la Ligue, 279-281. 

1591. THE SIEGE OF ROUEN. 283 

the richest province of Northern France, if not indeed of the en- 
tire realm. Rouen having once been wrested from the grasp of 
the League, the entire course of the Seine would be in the hands 
of the royalists, from Paris to the broad estuary through which 
Rouen be- the river empties into the English Channel. Havre 
and Ilonfleur, on either side of the entrance of the 
estuary, would not then be long in making their peace with the 
king. This is not the place to relate in all its details the re- 
markable siege that followed. The royal army was amply strong 
enough for the undertaking. Henry had received, near Vouzi- 
ers, on the upper Aisne, the fourteen thousand Germans brought 
by Turenne ; and to these were soon added six thousand English 
and as many more Swiss, not to speak of four thousand French 
troops, the remains of old regiments of foot. The united force 
thus numbered fully thirty thousand men, chiefly Protestants, 
who, as they served for pay, were pretty sure not to desert the 
monarch, when most he needed their services, on the plea offered 
by the gentleman serving at his own cost, that long neglected af- 
fairs at home must receive attention. The royal treasury, too, 
was in a far better condition than ever before, thanks in part to 
the sale which Henry had effected of portions of his own private 
domain and of crown property in Beam and Normandy, in part, 
also, to loans of money from abroad. 1 But unfortunately the 
king had other obstacles to confront than those interposed by 
the besieged. Marshal Biron, having new grievances to com- 
plain of, thought himself justified in new measures to thwart 
his master. Intrusted by Henry with the task of beginning the 
siege, he turned his attention to assaulting the strong Fort Saint 
Catharine, which commanded Rouen upon the east, instead of 
following the sensible advice of directing his main attack against 
the city itself, whose position was lower and whose walls were 
in places very weak. In vain was the obstinate veteran remind- 

1 See Poirson, Regne de Henri IV., i. 300, 301. The considerable sums lent 
by Queen Elizabeth about this time appear in the " Memoire des sommes de 
deniers que la Reyne d'Angleterre a prestez ou desboursez pour le Roy Tres- 
chrestien," in Sawyer's Memorials of Affairs of State (from Sir Ralph Win- 
wood's papers), i. 29. 


ed of the old military adage, " Ville prise, chateau rendu ; " in 
vain was it suggested to him that when once Rouen was taken 
the fort could not long hold out. His comrades in arms 
came to the conclusion that the marshal, having been refused 
the post of governor, which Henry had previously promised the 
Duke of Montpensier to confer, when the place should be taken. 
upon Monsieur de Hallot, had fully made up his mind to do 
everything that was necessary to prevent the success of the army 
he commanded. 1 

The siege began on the eleventh of November, 1591. On 
the first day of the succeeding month Henry addressed the 
citizens, from the town of Vernon on the Seine, a conciliatory 
letter, assuring them of his friendly disposition toward them, 
and citing the treatment received by all the cities that had sub- 
mitted to him, in proof of the sincerity of his purpose to pro- 
tect and maintain the privileges of the Roman Catholic Church. 
But these kindly advances were received with scorn. The her- 
ald who brought the king's letter was told to inform his master 
that God had not been so lavish of His favor to Henry but that 
Answer of the He had reserved a portion for His Catholic people ; 
Henry'Tsum nor would He suffer the city where the extirpation of 
rnons. .Q ie heretics had been sworn in the Edict of Union to 

fall into the power of the heretics. The Rouennais were re- 
solved to die rather than recognize a heretic as king of France. 2 

1 The secretaries of Sully tell us that their master strongly censured Biron's 
plan : " lequel dessein nous vous ouismes grandement blasmer, ay ant tous- 
jours eu la fantasie qu'il falloit attaquer la ville de Rouen, que vous disiez 
estre fort foible en de certains endroits, et par consequent fort facile a pren- 
dre, au lieu de s'amuser a attaquer une teste si estroite," etc. Of the motive 
they add: "Plusieurs vindrent a croire, et le bruit n'en estoit pas sourd. 
que le vieil Mareschal de Biron mal content de ce qu'ayant demande le gou- 
vernement de Rouen au Roy, il lui avoit respondu qu'il en estoit engage de 
parole a Monsieur de Montpensier pour Monsieur de Hallot ; il faisoit Urates 
choses par despit, et ne vouloit nullement que la ville se prist." Mcmoires de 
Sully, c. 33 (Ed. of 1663, i. 284). 

2 The " Bref discours des choses plus memorables advenues en la ville de 
Rouen, durant le siege mis devant icelle par Henry de Bourbon, pretendu 
Roy de Navarre" (Memoires de la Ligue, v. 103-121), contains both the letter 
of Henry IV. and the city's answer. 


Not content, however, with brave words, the citizens, under 
the skilful leadership of Monsieur de Villars, 1 than whom 
besieged city has scarcely ever boasted of a better governor, 
applied themselves to the means of defence. Not least curious 
among the incidents of the time was a solemn service, instituted 
on Sunday, the eighth of December. Leaving the magnificent 
cathedral of Notre Dame at the early hour of seven in the 
morning, the procession moved successively to the churches of 
St. Ouen, Notre Dame de Bonnes Nouvelles and the Capuchins, 
Litanies and wnere * n every case the host was exposed upon the 
processions. g ran( j altar amid all the splendors which ecclesiasti- 
cal ingenuity could devise. It would be tiresome to enumerate 
all the dignitaries of church and state, from the governor down, 
that were present. The inclement season of the year did not 
prevent three hundred merchants of the city, all of them walk- 
ing: with bare feet under the standard of the crucifix, from 
heading the pompous array. Every reliquary of which Rouen 
could boast was there, from that of St. Romain to that which 
contained some fragments of the bones of the eleven thousand 
virgins. It was in the stately church of St. Ouen that the 
chief solemnities were observed. There the Bishop of Bayeux 
said mass, and there Monsieur Jean d'Andre, a doctor of theol- 
ogy and penitentiary of Rouen, delivered the sermon, from a 
scriptural text never before, it may be believed, applied in such 
a manner. li Nolitejugum ducere cum infidelibus " — " Be not 
unequally yoked together with unbelievers " — according to the 
new exegesis here propounded, signified that the Roman Cath- 
olics should not and could not receive a heretic to be king of 
France, and that death endured in so good a cause as that in 
which Rouen was engaged was holy and enjoined of God. The 
discourse closed with an appeal to all who were present to raise 
their hands and swear to prefer the loss of life to a recognition 
of Henry of Bourbon, and with an injunction that every one 
should fast on bread and water during Wednesday, Friday, and 

1 Andre de Villars-Brancas, governor of Havre de Grace, who had been 
■brought in the capacity of lieutenant to supply the inexperience of Duke 
Henry d'Aiguillon, the young son of the Duke of Mayenne. 


Saturday of the current week, with a view to the reception, on 
the ensuing Lord's day, of " the holy Sacrament of the altar — 
true and assured weapon against the heretics." ' 

Despite, however, all the resolution of the citizens and all 
the ability of Yillars, despite processions and desperate sorties, 
Rouen must fall if not speedily relieved. Again the 
Parma in- Duke of Parma was urged to make no delay in com- 
ing to the relief of the orthodox of France. Already 
Philip had a foothold in Brittany, and Spanish war vessels 
swept the shores of France, sailed to and fro in the estuary of 
the Seine, and kept the communication open between the Nor- 
man capital and the sea. Now a new concession was demanded 
before Alexander Farnese would enter France, and Mayenne 
was compelled reluctantly to suffer a Spanish garrison to be 
placed in the town of La Fere, on the upper Oise, and near the 
Flemish borders. 

At the approach of the Duke of Parma the king advanced 
to meet him with his mounted gentlemen and a few arqnebnsiers, 
leaving the conduct of the siege during his absence 
wounded to Marshal Biron. But his first encounter with the 
invader, a little beyond Aumale, on the borders of 
Normandy and Picardy, was not a success; his troops were 
driven back in considerable disorder, and Henry himself re- 
ceived a slight wound in the loins from a half -spent ball. Too 
weak in men to dispute the duke's advance, the king was com- 
pelled to permit the capture of Xeufchatel in Bray, and could 
only hang on the sides of the Spaniards, ready to take advan- 
tage of every mistake committed by his antagonist." Parma 
was consequently forced to make short marches, and every even- 
ing to throw up intrenchments for the purpose of protecting 
himself from surprises at the hands of a vigilant and active foe. 

1 kl Bref discours" in the Memoires de la Ligue. v. 112, 113. 

2 It was in one of the minor engagements of this time that poor Chicot, the 
well-known clown of the king, was fortunate enough, though himself mortally 
wounded, to take prisoner the Count of Chaligny, a nobleman of the princely 
house of Lorraine, and actually in command as a general officer of one of the 
divisions of the present expedition. Tt is almost needless to say that the count 
was overwhelmed with chagrin at being captured by such an antagonist. 

159'2. THE SIEGE OF ROUEN. 2b 7 

The king's repulse at Aumale and his wound were the least 
of his causes for annoyance. One day, when sitting at the 
Protestant preaching service in his camp, he received a mes- 
senger from Rouen who brought most unwelcome tidings. Vil- 
lars had watched his opportunity, and, on the morning of the 
twenty-sixth of February, had made a sortie not less 

A pnr»(*GSSf 111 * 

sortie from determined than unexpected. Pushing on to the ene- 
my's position at Darnetal, and meeting little resist- 
ance, he had made himself master of Biron's cannon, carrying 
off some and spiking the rest ; had turned the trenches, and had 
slaughtered the besiegers when, tardily and just awaking from 
sleep, they hurried to defend them. Not to speak of the dam- 
age to the works, the butchery of three or four hundred faith- 
ful soldiers, some of them men of bravery and eminence, was 
enough to discourage a less sanguine monarch than Henry. 
But the actual loss was not the most depressing circumstance. 
Again Marshal Biron had been culpably, inexcusably negligent, 
and such was the state of affairs, civil and political, that the 
king dared not take him to task. It was, indeed, more than 

suspected that, if the marshal had not purposely in- 
Lukewarm- . r _ _ \ . . r r J 
ness of Biron vited the murderous attack, with the view or further 

and others. . , . , . . , , , 

avenging his disappointment upon the monarch, he 
was, at any rate, not at all sorry that fresh disasters should 
befall the king who persisted in his heresy. And Biron 
had many counterparts among the Roman Catholics of Hen- 
ry's suite. The king might make light of the reverse he had 
met with, and observe that the gain of another battle would 
make everything right ; but all his fine speeches, as Sully in- 
forms us, could not restore the equanimity of the " malignants," 
nor prevent them from manifesting, by their sorrowful faces, by 
their melancholy looks, by shrugging their shoulders, by roll- 
ing their eyes upward toward heaven, by low whispers in the 
ear, and by predictions of all kinds of ill-success so long as the 
king should continue to be a Huguenot, the annoyance and dis- 
pleasure with which they endured the rule of a king of the 
Protestant religion, and their hatred of its professors. This 
hatred, indeed, exhibited itself, in the army before Rouen, in a 
very tangible form. The victims of the late sortie had been 


buried in ditches hastily dug in the nearest church-yards, and 
among the ten or twelve corpses consigned to each grave no at- 
tempt had been made to discriminate between orthodox and 
heretic. Such impartiality did not suit the prejudices of the 
more bigoted. They began to demand that the ground should 
be reopened, and the bodies of those whose presence desecrated 
the holy spot should be cast to the wolves and the crows. What 
with the difficulty of ascertaining the religious sentiments of 
each of the deceased and the indignation and threats of the 
Huguenots, who constituted two-thirds of the army, the atro- 
cious proposal was not carried into execution. But like many 
other incidents trifling in appearance, but deeply significant of 
the implacable rancor of religious partisanship, it was another 
proof to a king already weak of purpose that he could never be 
secure of his crown until he should have renounced his mothers 
faith. 1 

Meantime, Villars at Rouen and Mayenne in the field were 
even more apprehensive that they might be too much indebted 
to the Duke of Parma for deliverance than afraid of the arms 
of Henry. The former hastily sent word to the 
dispensed Spaniard that Rouen could now take care of itself ; 
while Mayenne, in reply to the duke's very natural 
suggestion that the best thing to be done was certainly to 
press forward and at once make an end of all trouble by 
breaking up Biron's operations, politely informed Parma that 
he had come so far only to bring succor to the besieged. 
Now that fortune had effected this without the intervention of 
either the duke or of himself, his duty was to lead the army 
back to a place of safety. " Were I a private soldier," said he, 
"I should be happy to follow you anywhere ; but, as Lieuten- 
ant General of the Crown of France, I cannot consent to make 
any rash and useless ventures." 3 

Nothing remained for Parma to do but to yield to the bad 
counsels of the leaders who had been so earnest in soliciting 

'Memoires de Sully, chap. 35 (vol. i. 308-310). M. Poirson takes the most 
unfavorable view of Marshal Biron's action at Rouen. 
2 De Thou, viii. 61. 

1592. THE SIEGE OF ROUEN. 289 

his presence, and who now made it a point of pride to oppose 
him at every point. But scarcely had he crossed the river 
Somme, on his way hack to the Netherlands, before Villars be- 
gan to repent his self-sufficiency. The king had taken matters 
into his own hands, for Marshal Biron was still disabled in con- 
sequence of a wound received on the occasion of the disaster 
of the great sortie. Rouen was hard pressed, and the citizens, 
worn out by their incessant labors and prostrated by diseases 
incident to their situation, were driven to the verge of despair. 
Again Villars had unwilling recourse to Farnese, warning him 
that, unless relieved before the twentieth of April, he w^ould 
have to capitulate with the king. His appeal was more prompt- 
ly heard than it deserved to be. By one of those marvel- 
lous efforts of which Parma was capable, within six days, he 
traversed the space which Henry thought, from his 

He is again *■ " 

begged to own experience, could hardly be accomplished in less 
than twenty. In fact, the king was not only surprised, 
but in some peril ; for in his fancied security he had given a 
brief leave of absence to his nobles, the infantry alone being 
deemed essential to the prosecution of the siege. Happily he 
had taken the precaution to provide for summoning the absen- 
tees in an emergency, and not many days elapsed before he again 
found himself formidable, with three thousand French horse, 
an equal number of German reiters, and twelve thousand foot. 
But he was not able to maintain the siege of Rouen, nor to pre- 
vent the fruit of the labors of four or five months from being 
The siege snatched from his hands. It was, indeed, only the 
abandoned, jealousy entertained by Mayenne of any plan pro- 
posed by Parma which shielded Henry from assault until the 
arrival of his re-enforcements. The Frenchman insisted that 
the king would easily be able to effect a retreat across the Seine, 
and that it was far better to turn the army's attention to the 
Dutch cruisers who had come to dispute with the Spanish vessels 
the command of the outlet to the sea. He recommended an at- 
tack upon Caudebec, a fortified place lying on the second fold of 
the sinuous river below Rouen, and again the Spaniard was con- 
strained to yield to the superior authority of the " Lieutenant 
General of the Crown." Nor was this all. After the fall of 
Vol. II. —19 


Caudebec, Parma, having been dangerously wounded in the arm 
while approaching too near the works, was not only compelled 
to take to his bed, but reduced to the necessity of seeing his 
wise counsels a third time overruled by the persistent opposition 
of the Lorraine prince. Alarmed at the rapid growth of Hen- 
ry's army, the duke was in favor of abandoning the newly ac- 
quired prize, and counselled a retreat westward to Lillebonne, 
where he might draw an abundance of provisions for his troops 
from friendly Havre, in his rear. But Mayenne insisted upon 
retaining a position which might, he said, enable him to relieve 
Ilouen from a renewal of the trial to which that city had recent- 
ly been subjected. How injudicious the latter plan was soon 
appeared, when the army of the League found itself confronted 
by a force larger than its own, and when, in a district desolated 
by war, the necessaries of life, even to water itself, became 
scarce and dear. To the king's eager attempt to bring on a 
general engagement, the enemy's generals, now at last united in 
counsel by the common danger that menaced their destruction, 
gave no heed, but gradually shifted the camp fromYvetot, once 
famous for its claim to have been an independent kingdom, to 
the banks of the Seine. 1 Retreat indeed seemed to be cut off. 
Not a bridge spanned the river at any point below Rouen. But 
for nothing was Farnese more remarkable than for the fertility 
Masterbrre- of his mind in devices to elude an adversary and to 
Duke°of the extricate himself from desperate straits. Having se- 
parma. cretly ordered the construction of pontoons in the 

Norman capital, he directed them to drop down the stream to 
the neighborhood of Caudebec. With beams already prepared, a 

1 De Thou (viii. 68, 69) seriously discusses the merits of the story of the 
origin of the "royaume d'Yvetot." but, while inclined to concede its sub- 
stantial truth, sees difficulties hard to be overcome in the statement that Goal- 
tier, lord of Yvetot, was on his way home from a crusade against the Saracens, 
when sacrilegiously slain in a chapel at Soissons, on Good Friday, by King 
Clothaire. As this was about 534 A.D. , or between thirty and forty years be- 
fore the birth of Mohammed, it must be confessed that the historian's perplex- 
ities are well founded. Clothaire is said to have been threatened with excom- 
munication by Pope Agapetus, unless he should make satisfaction to the widow 
and children of the murdered nobleman. This he did by giving them the 
sovereignty of the fief which Gualtier had previously held of him. 

1592. THE SIEGE OF ROUEN. 291 

floating bridge was quickly made, and almost before Henry sus- 
pected his intention, a great part of the Spanish army and of its 
French allies was on the left bank of the Seine. By the skilful 
management of Parma's son, young Panuccio, the rest was safe- 
ly brought across, and the French royalists had the mortification 
of seeing the troops which, but a day before, they had supposed 
to be hemmed in by a wide expanse of water, making their way 
without hinderance toward the friendly refuge of Paris. The 
brilliancy of Parma's movement was equalled only by the blun- 
der of his opponents, who, on the announcement of his escape, 
neglected even to send forward a portion of their well-appointed 
cavalry to the nearest bridge in their possession, the Pont de 
TArche, to harass, if not cut off, the retreat of Parma. 1 

The fault, however, lay not with Henry, but with his treach- 
erous council, and particularly with Marshal Biron, author of so 
many disasters and disappointments. Only a few days 

Disloyalty of J . rr . J J . 

the Roman betore, this doughty warrior gave a iresh proor or his 

Catholics of ' Y\ • ^ i ^r n 

the king's half-heartedness. During not Jess than live engage- 
ments between the twenty-eighth of April and the 
tenth of May, the combined forces of Parma and Mayenne had 
been roughly handled ; and, during their retreat from Yvetot to 
Pancon, near Caudebec, only a little more vigor on the part of 
the marshal would have turned their flight into a rout. It was 
at this juncture that the younger Biron applied to his father for 

1 De Thou has given a good description of the siege of Rouen, and of the 
second campaign of Parma in France, in the 102d and 103d hooks of his ad- 
mirable history (viii. 46-73). See, also, Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 257, etc. ; Re- 
cueil des choses memorables, 743-748 ; " Bref discours des chosesplus niemora- 
hles advenues en la ville de Rouen," in the Memoires de la Ligue, v. 103-121, 
already referred to ; " Bref discours de l'heureuse victoire qu'il a pleu a Dieu 
envoyer au Roy contre la Ligue, et ses principaux chefs, es mois d Avril et de 
May, 1592," reprinted in the Memoires de la Ligue, v. 155-157 ; " Avis du camp 
de Fescamp, le iii May, 1592," ibid., v. 157. The last two documents, com- 
posed at the time by loyalists, must be read with caution. The " Bref discours " 
makes the loss of Parma during his campaign to have amounted to between 
six and seven thousand men. The " Avis " was written at a time when it was 
confidently believed that the enemy's forces were so shut in that their destruc- 
tion or dispersion was inevitable. Henry's dismissal of his nobles and others 
is here represented as a feint to entice the enemy. 


five hundred horse, a number quite sufficient to accomplish the 
end proposed. But the marshal gruffly denied the request. 
To have granted it might be to bring the war to a close, and, 
with the war, the occupation and importance of military men. 
" What, knave," said he, " do you wish, then, to send us to home 
to plant cabbages at Biron ? " ' The young man went away 
muttering, it is said, that, were he king, he would have the 
marshal's head cut off. 2 Now the same disloyal servant of 
the French crown used his predominant influence in the royal 
council to check Henry's impatience and cover Parma's retreat. 
And he was not alone. In assigning the causes of the failure 
of the royalists, Sully puts Biron's selfishness only in the second 
place, and mentions as first of all, and principal, the opposi- 
tion of the most zealous among the prominent Roman Catholic 
noblemen. Again the fear that Henry might triumph over his 
enemies and establish himself firmly upon the throne before 
the fulfilment of his promise to be " instructed," and the insu- 
perable aversion to the sight of a Huguenot seated upon the 
throne of France, postponed the hope of peace already long 
deferred. Again the disloyal treasurer found it convenient to 
have no funds at hand wherewith to pay Swiss and German 
mercenaries, who chose this very opportunity to protest that 
they would not take a single step before their wages should be 
forthcoming. 3 

1 " Quoy done, maraut, nous veux-tu envoyer planter des choux a Biron ? " 
Perefixe, Histoire de Henry le Grand, 160. 

2 " On disoit, et mesme son propre fils le luy reprocha, que s'il eust alors 
pousse vivement, il eust aisement deffait toute l'armee, mais qu'il arresta son 
toonheur, parce qu'il craignit qu'un si grand coup ne mist fin a la guerre et a 
son employ." Mezeray, Abrege chron., vi. 73. "lis ajoutent que si le man - 
dial de Biron n'eut point arrete l'infanterie du roy, qui deja avoit defait deux 
regimens des ennemis, la victoire auroit etc* entiere." Lestoile, ii. 87. See 
Poirson, i. 315. 

3 " Le pire conseil fut suivy pour quatre causes et raisons, dont la premiere 
et principale provient des plus zelez et qualifiez Seigneurs Catholiques, desquels 
vous S9avez bien les noms sans que nous les disions, car il y en avoit de vos 
plus proches et de vos intimes amis. ... La quatriesme, que ceux des 
Finances, pour reduire les choses ou ils desiroient, firent manquer l'argent que 
Ton avoit promis aux Suisses et Reistres," etc. Memoires de Sully, chap. 35 
(Ed. of 1663, i. 320, 321). 

1592. THE SIEGE OF ROUEN. 293 

The bridge of Saint Cloud had been broken down by the 
Leaguers of Paris. As the inhabitants of the capital had no 
inclination to admit their Spanish allies into the city by the 
Pont Notre Dame, a bridge of boats was hastily constructed for 
their accommodation. Having remained in the vicinity of Paris 
long enough to receive the congratulations of Madame de Mont- 
pensier and her coterie, Parma proceeded to Chateau-Thierry, 
and thence, after giving some rest to his exhausted army, to the 
Death of the Netherlands. It was the last time that able general 
Duj£eofParma. ever get £ Qot j n p rance Q n ^ ie second of December, 

worn by fatigue, prostrated by illness, and suffering from his 
recent wound, he died at the city of Arras, when about to 
undertake a third invasion of France in the interests of the 
League. 1 He was preceded to the grave by Marshal Biron, 
whose head was carried away by a cannon-ball as he was impru- 
dently inspecting the fortifications of Epernay, recently capt- 
ured by Mayenne, but soon after retaken by the king. 2 It may 
be questioned whether Henry gained more by the death of his 
gallant enemy in arms than by the removal of his own general, 
whose great military abilities had so often been exerted to re- 
strain the king's victorious arms and to render fruitless his most 
strenuous efforts. 

1 Memoires de la Ligue, v. 201 ; Recueil des choses memorables, 758 ; De 
Thou, viii. 131. 

2 De Thou, viii. 74, 75. 




The siege of Rouen was not the only event of the year from 
which Henry and the Huguenots, who had so faithfully clung to 
various fort- n ^ s f° rtun es, derived little satisfaction. Three years 
uncsof war. j^ p asS ed since the assassination of the last of the 
Valois, yet his successor was even now engaged in a conflict 
with his enemies, of which the issue was still doubtful ; three 
years had passed since a Huguenot had ascended the throne, 
yet were his fellow-believers no nearer the realization of the 
dream of complete religious liberty which had sustained their 
courage through an entire generation of struggles, massacre-. 
and pitiless warfare. In scarcely a year of the last quarter 
of a century had the general results of their military opera- 
tions been more indecisive, even when they fought under the 
banners of noblemen of inferior degree, than in 151)2, when 
they possessed the signal advantage of having royalty upon 
their side. True, in the northeast of the kingdom, bo 
attended the arms of Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Viscount 
successes near of Turenne, whom, a year before, the king had re- 
sedan. warded for his devotion and loyalty by honoring 

him with the hand of Charlotte, sole heiress of the great house 
of De la Marck, and by conferring upon him the dignity and 
the ample domains of the Duchy of Bouillon. 1 But the gains 
in the neighborhood of Sedan were more than balanced by the 

1 De Thou, viii. (bk. 102) 44, 45. See, for the victory of the Duke of 
Bouillon, ibid., viii. 101, 102, or more in detail, a contemporary document 
entitled, " Brief discours de ce qui est advenu en la prise de la ville de Dun, 
sur le due de Lorraine, par le due de Bouillon, au commencement de deceni- 
bre 1592," reprinted in Memoires de la Ligue, v. 191-194. 


losses sustained by the royalists in the provinces of Anjou and 

Maine, where the cities of Chateau-Gontier and Laval opened 

their gates to the Duke of Mercoeur and the League, 

Losses in ° . . _^* 

Anjou and after the defeat experienced by the Prince or Dom- 
bes, eldest son of the Duke of Montpensier, in his 
retreat from the fruitless siege of Craon. 1 So, too, in the south, 
a conspiracy to betray to Philip the city of Bayonne, the key 
of the Spanish entrance on the shores of the Bay of 
Biscay, signally failed ; but, farther to the east, the 
younger Joyeuse, brother of the favorite of Henry the Third 
who lost his life in the battle of Coutras, greatly advanced the 
cause of the disloyal party in Quercy and the adjacent region. 
The important city of Carcassonne had fallen into his hands 
toward the end of the previous year, and the whole of upper 
Languedoc seemed likely to share in the fate of Carcassonne. 2 
Antoine Scipion de Joyeuse, however, was himself destined to be 
a victim to the strange mutations of fortune which were char- 
acteristic of this period. At the close of his brilliant career 
Defeat and °f almost uninterrupted success, the ambitious young 
tSlwsd^on general, after having ravaged the vicinity of Mon- 
de joyeuse. tauban, and captured Montbartier, Monbequin, and 
other places of minor importance, proceeded to lay siege to the 
city of Yillemur, lying about midway between Montauban and 
Toulouse. It was a venturesome undertaking, of a kind against 
which his father had warned him with his last breath. " Be 
careful,'' said Duke William of Joyeuse to his son, " not to lay 
siege to towns belonging to the adherents of the Protestant 
religion, since they fight with desperation in defence of their 
property, their religion, and their lives. Attack, if you will, the 
* Politiques,' who, being of the same religion with ourselves, are 
more ready to enter into some composition, after having made 
sufficient resistance to vindicate their honor." 3 Not only did the 

1 May 24th. De Thou, viii. 94-98 ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 271-274. 

• See the Memoires de Jacques Gaches, 418, 419. 

3 " Au mepris des dernieres instructions du feu due son pere, decede quelque 
temps auparavant [in January, 1592], qui luy avoit recomniande de prendre 
garde a n'entreprendre point de siege des villes de ceux de la religion, qui se 


garrison of Villemur institute a determined resistance to their 
assailants, but a resolute force of Huguenots gathered from all 
quarters to its relief. Antoine Scipion de Joyeuse was him- 
self attacked in the intrenchments which he had thrown up 
around his army. Surprised by the suddenness and fury of the 
assault, the Leaguers, at the first discharge, abandoned their 
outermost works to take refuge within a second line of breast- 
works. A half-hour of hard fighting ensued, when the Hu- 
guenot captain, impatient at the delay, commanded his nephew, 
who carried the colors of the regiment, to hurl them within the 
enemy's ramparts. " Let us see," cried he at the same time to 
his soldiers ; " let us see whether our men will be so cowardly 
as to abandon the flag to the foe ! " ' At the word the royal- 
ists rushed forward, and, before their opponents had realized 
their situation, the works were carried. In a few minutes 
the forces of Joyeuse, superior in numbers, were flying pre- 
cipitately in the direction of the river Tarn and the friendly 
city of Toulouse. In vain did the duke endeavor to check the 
panic of his troops ; they would listen to no remonstrance, 
and he was fain to follow their example. Unfortunately the 
bridge across the Tarn had been broken down, and, in the at- 
tempt to save themselves by swimming, the fugitives, in great 
numbers, perished in its waters. Among them was the young 
duke himself, who, plunging in clad in full armor, was drowned, 
with the curses called forth by his ill-success still fresh upon 
his lips. 2 

defendent en desesperes pour leurs biens, pour leur religion, et pour leurs vies; 
mais de s'en prendre aux politiques qui, estans de mesnie religion qu'eux. sont 
plus faciles a composer, apres quelque resistance pour leur honneur. II en- 
treprit ce siege sans se souvenir de tous ces advis." Memoires de Jacques 
Gaches, 432. 

1 " Voyons un peu sy on sera sy lasche d'abandonner le drapeau aux enne- 
mis." Ibid., 437. 

2 " Le pont qu'il avoit basti estant coupe, causa la mort de presque tous ceux 
qui avoyent quitted la terre pour se refugier a l'eau. Lui forcenant de despit 
et aboyant le ciel, 'A Dieu mes canons,' dit-il, 'ha je renie Dieu, je cours 
aujourd'hui grand' fortune.' De ce pas il sachemine au Tar [Tarn], pour 
se rendre comparsonnier au malheur de ceux qui alloyent en l'eau, pour 
souffrir la juste peine des maux que sous sa conduite, ils avoyent fait par 

1592. THE ABJURATION. 297 

It was not otherwise in Dauphiny and Provence. There, too, 

victory perched sometimes upon the standards of the Duke of 

Savoy, at others upon those of Lesdieruieres. Into 

The gains of * J r ° 

the Duke of the hands of the former fell the small but highly 
fortified port of Antibes, on the Mediterranean coast ; 
and the ancient Roman town of Vienne, on the bank of the 
river Rhone, was gotten through treachery by the Duke of 
[Nemours ; while their Huguenot rival in the art of war pur- 
Achievements sue d a course of almost uninterrupted success in the 
anion S g the^ res n ^& a Alps, where no other military leader of the day 
Alps ' seemed so much at home. Rocky defiles possessed 

no terrors for this indomitable general. The enemy were 
amazed both at the hardihood and at the expedition of a com- 
mander who revelled in the accomplishment of what to others 
appeared impossible. Early in the year, summoned by the ear- 
nest entreaties of the inhabitants of Provence, he left the city 
of Gap, and rapidly descending the narrow valley of the Beuch, 
threw himself upon the towns of the Durance and of the more 
distant seaboard which held for the League. A long list might 
be made of the places that yielded to his arms or opened their 
gates in terror at his approach. 1 After carrying consternation 

le feu. . . . Le Tar, par la violence de son randon, le ravit d'entre les 
mains de ceux qui le tenoyent; et comme executeur de la justice divine, 
mit fin a, son orgueil, sa cruaute, et ses blasphemes." Copie d'une lettre 
contenant le vrai et entier discours tant du siege de Villemur, que de la de- 
faicte de Monsieur le Due de Joyeuse, in Memoires de la Ligue, v. 178, 179 
— a long and valuable communication signed by Claude de la Grange, of 
Montauban, styled by the author of the Recueil des choses memorables (p. 
750), " excellent historien, et tres eloquent entre les eloquens de nostre 
temps." The royalists lost but ten men; the League two thousand men in 
dead, and only forty-three prisoners. Neither the Memoires de Jacques 
Gaches (pp. 436-438) nor the Memoires du baron d'Ambres (apud Me- 
moires de la famille de Portal, 353, 354), both of which are contemporary au- 
thorities and do ample justice to the bravery of Joyeuse, make any reference 
to the alleged blasphemous words of the unfortunate young man. See, also, 
Recueil des choses memorables, 752, 753 ; De Thou, etc. 

1 Among the more important may be noticed upon the map the names of 
Peyrolles, Jouques, and St. Paul, on the Durance ; Castellane, on the Verdon ; 
Aups, Barjols, Cotignac, and Muy, on or near the Argens ; La Cadiere, near 
Toulon, etc. 


to the citizens of Nice, he turned westward and was so success- 
ful in the region beyond Toulon that the inhabitants of Mar- 
seilles were glad to redeem from pillage a number of towns in 
their vicinity by the payment of twenty thousand crowns of 
gold. 1 In the autumn Lesdiguieres carried out a cherished plan 
and in Pied- °^ mv &ding the ancestral estates of the Duke of Savoy, 
mont. Crossing Mont Genevre from Briancon, with a force 

of six hundred horse and three thousand five hundred foot, he 
ravaged with one part of his army the vicinity of Susa, in the val- 
ley of the Dora Riparia, but meanwhile directed the other part 
to the neighboring Yal Pragelas, descending into the lower valley 
of Perouse, and advancing to the walls of the city of Pignerol 
itself. His ladders proved too short to enable him to capture 
this stronghold, but Luserne and Cavour, farther to the south, 
fell into his hands. At the entrance of the valley of Luserne 
he constructed the powerful fortification of Briqueras. 2 Here, 
among the Italian Waldenses, the Huguenot soldiers of Lesdi- 
guieres — many of them doubtless descendants from the same 
stock, Waldenses or Vaudois from the valleys of Freissinicres 
and Queyras among the mountains of Upper Dauphiny, or from 
Merindol and Cabrieres on the Lower Durance — found them- 
selves in the midst of a people of the same faith. Loyalty to 
their prince struggled in the breasts of their hosts with religious 
sympathy and the sense of a community of interests. If we 
may credit the French historians, the Waldenses testified in 
their countenances their delight at the coming of the French, 
wrought with zeal on the works of Briqueras, and took without 
reluctance the oath of allegiance to Henry the Fourth, which 
was required of them. Their own historians give a different ac- 
count of the matter, and insist that the Waldenses at first refused 
to take the oath, and only complied with the repeated demand 
after having received from Turin the secret consent of the 
Duchess of Savoy — her husband was absent in Provence — and 
of her council. Their assertion does not appear to be gronnd- 

1 " Brief recit des exploits de guerre du sieur des Diguieres " etc., in If - 
moires de la Ligue, v. 781, 782 ; De Thou, viii. 110, 111. 

2 De Thou, viii. 113-119. 

1592. THE ABJURATION. 299 

less, if, as is said, at the end of the two years of French occu- 
pation the Waldenses were able to convince the duke's council 
— certainly not prejudiced in their favor — of the integrity and 
loyalty of their conduct. 1 

There could be little doubt that, in estimating accurately the 
relative importance of the gains and losses of the king during 
the year 1592, the balance would be found to be somewhat in 
favor of his majesty. He had rather advanced than receded 
in his struggle for universal recognition. Yet the inquiry nat- 
urally forced itself upon the minds of the worldly-wise — How 
long will it require, at so slow a rate, to secure ultimate success? 
Evidently the moment was rapidly approaching when Henry, 
if he were not firm in his religious convictions, would see no 
other way to the attainment of his hopes than by a renuncia- 
tion of the faith in which he had been brought up — a moment 
when, too, he would not lack for prudent advisers to suggest to 
him the necessity of no longer hesitating to give France peace 
by the sacrifice of his personal preferences. 

Outside of the kingdom the prospect was dark. The great 
ally of the League was deeply interested in its success, profuse 
in promises, and lavish of men and treasure ; the nearest and 
most natural ally of the king was capricious, at times indiffer- 
ent. " Our neighbors," wrote Duplessis Mornay on one occa- 
sion — and his words clearly pointed to Queen Eliza- 
the king's beth of England — "give us succor only out of season 
and peevishly, while the King of Spain neglects every- 
thing else that he may attack us, denies himself everything that 
he may be able to supply our enemies. He esteems the affairs 
of France to be more his own affairs than those which imme- 
diately concern him ; whereas our neighbors of whom I have 
spoken are nettled if one merely suggest to them that they too 
have interests at stake. These are the reasons that lead us to 
look about us for the best means of reaching a peace.' 1 2 Nor 
was the Huguenot diplomatist overstating the case with re- 

1 See Monastier, Histoire de l'eglise vaudoise depuis son origine, et des Vau- 
dois du Piedmont, i. 303, 304. 

2 Duplessis Mornay to Buzenval, April 18, 1592, Memoires, v. 303. 


spect to the great Protestant queen. When, some three or four 
months before the time at which he wrote, Duplessis Mornay 
was sent to England to solicit help for the king his master, 
he found Elizabeth boiling with anger against Henry for his 
dilatoriness, against the Earl of Essex for not bringing back 
the troops she had sent to France — in short, against every one 
concerned. In a second interview she did indeed treat Du- 
plessis Mornay and his fellow-envoy with a little more 

Queen Eliza- r d J 

beth'scapri- courtesy, and, after reading a memorial handed in bv 


them, actually consented that they should have two 
thousand pikemen and one thousand musketeers ; but in the 
brief space of two hours she changed her mind again, and was 
furious in her reproaches against her own counsellors, whom she 
openly accused of collusion with the Frenchmen. In short, 
Queen Elizabeth dismissed Duplessis Mornay and Beau voir 
with the assurance that henceforth she would content herself 
with " praying " for the King of France. To which the Hu- 
guenots very naturally replied that her majesty must pardon 
them for saying, that to pray to God in the king's behalf was 
indeed a woman's succor, but not the aid to be expected of a 
queen and powerful princess such as she was, who to her prayers 
ought to add of her means. It was characteristic of the tickle 
Elizabeth that scarcely had Essex regained the shores of Great 
Britain before she despatched to Henry a re-enforcement of two 
thousand men — one-half of what he had asked for — with an 
intimation that she did so in consequence of the reason- 
duced by the late envoys. 1 So fitful and uncertain were the 
breezes that came across the Channel as compared with the 
strong and steady currents of help from Spain ! 

The spasmodic and uncertain support, which was all that he 
could hope to obtain from his Protestant allies, led Henry to 
consider the quickest means of securing peace, and this con- 
sideration prompted the secret negotiations into which Du- 

1 See at great length the "Negotiation de M. Duplessis en Angleterre. en 
Janvier 1592," in the Memoires, v. 152-188 ; and the instructions of the 
envoy signed by Henry IV. in camp before Rouen, December, 1591, ibid., 
v. 129-137. 

1592. THE ABJURATION. 301 

plessis -Mornay entered, on behalf of his majesty, with Yilleroy, 
representing May en ne and the League. This was during the 
siege of Rouen (March and April, 1592). The time 
between Du- had at last come when the leaders of the rebellion 
nay and vii- were, with few exceptions, ready to throw off the mask 
of religion, and make such terms as their prolonged 
resistance to the king's arms seemed to entitle them to dictate, 
^so talk now of the crime of treating with an heretical prince, 
excommunicated by Mother Holy Church. Those hitherto so 
fiery in their zeal were quite ready to lay down their arms if only 
their private interests might be duly considered. The Duke of 
Mayenne, now hopeless of securing the crown of France for him- 
self, at heart preferred to see that bawble resting upon the head 
of Henry rather than gracing the brow either of the decrepit 
Philip the Second or of the Infanta, his daughter. Even the 
Duchess of Kemours and the Duke of Montpensier were re- 
ported to be for peace and reconciliation. Only Madame de 
Guise was opposed, because she still hoped to see her son upon 
the throne as husband of the Infanta, and Monsieur de Rosne, 
by reason of the two thousand crowns he drew monthly from 
Spain. 1 

It was the private conditions demanded by the leaders which 
Duplessis Mornay was most anxious to ascertain. What use 
was there in treating of the religious question, of the king's 
u instruction " and prospective " reunion " with the " Catholic 
Mayenne^ se- Church," which were but excuses, so long as the price 
tion S expecta at which ea °h one of the noblemen now loud in pro- 
fessions of zeal was ready to sell out his opposition had 
not been definitely stated ? The Huguenot declined to begin 
serious discussion until the envoy of the League should have 
produced his instructions upon this point. Yilleroy, however, 
protested with great solemnity that he had no documents of the 
kind about him. His master was too disinterested, forsooth, to 
suffer any selfish purposes of his own to interfere with the ad- 
vancement of the common weal. But Duplessis Mornay had too 

1 Memoire sent by Duplessis Mornay to the king, March 28, 1592, ihid., v. 
247, 248. 


large an experience in the arts of diplomacy to give much credit 
to such asseverations. By and by his companion is seen to 
change countenance ; he hesitates, his denials become more 
faint, and finally, not without many indications of the shame 
he feels to be engaged in such ignoble work, he draws out of 
his pocket the desired paper. There it is in black and white. 
Over against each name, beginning with that of Mayenne him- 
self, stands the precise sum, in honors, offices, and filthy lucre, 
at which the submission of the owner of the name can be 
bought. Villeroy, under promise of strict secrecy, produces the 
key to the cipher, and puts Duplessis Mornay in possession of 
the precious facts : The Duke of Mayenne demands the gov- 
ernment of the province of Burgundy in perpetuity for himself 
and for his heirs after him ; the royal domain of the same prov- 
ince as a pledge for some notable sum ; the right to dispose of 
all civil offices and churchly benefices in the same province ; a 
large amount of ready money to pay his debts ; and a dignity 
that shall elevate him above all other subjects of the French 
crown. The Dukes of Mercceur, Xemonrs, Guise, and Joyeuse 
are a little more modest in their claims. Each must have the 
government he now possesses assured to him, together with the 
right to nominate the governors of the included cities and 

Duplessis Mornay had come prepared for extravagant de- 
mands ; he had certainly expected no such exorbitant demands 
as these. Glad as he was to come at the truth — especially glad 
to possess the proof that the leaders were ready for a sale — he 
threatened at once to break off the negotiations. He 
memberment informed Villeroy that what was proposed was nothing 

of France. 

less than the dismemberment and ruin of France. A 
man might, under certain circumstances, be willing to cut off 
an arm to save his life; he would never consent to part with 
one to destroy his life. It might be reasonable to advise the 
king to sacrifice Burgundy for the purpose of preserving the 
rest of his realm ; but the example would be disastrous, inas- 
much as five or six chieftains, over whom the authority of 
Mayenne was but slight, would each want his share of the king- 
dom — the princes of the blood with better reasons than the rest. 

1592. THE ABJURATION. 303 

As to the duke's demand for a rank superior to all others, it 
meant nothing else than that the ambitious prince should be 
constituted a mayor of the palace or a lieutenant general of 
France. 1 

Irrespective of the greed of the nobles of the League, the 

difficulties confronting Duplessis Mornay in the negotiation were 

great. He was fully aware of the pressure brought 


Mornay dim- to bear upon the king b} T his own adherents. " Our 

cult position. -^ . ., * . .. ,_ . 

Catholics, he wrote, " desire peace at all hazards ; 
they blame us and say that everything depends on the king, 
that for the sake of an opinion he is losing the state ; and 
thereupon, one after another, they enter into private truces 
which go so far that one of these days the king will be sustain- 
ing the war alone." 3 Henry himself had long been proclaim- 
ing his willingness to be " instructed," and declaring that he 
would not be found to be " obstinate." If the instruction had 
not yet taken place, it was no fault of his, but rather the fault 
of the papal legate and of other ecclesiastics who had absolutely 
forbidden the required conference. The Roman Catholics who 
adhered to the king's party, and likewise the better-disposed 
part of those not yet united with him, understood this instruc- 
tion to be only another name for conversion, and were urgent 
that Henry should at once declare his intention to be reconciled 
with the Romish Church within a certain prescribed term. That 
his master was fully resolved to barter the faith in which he 
had been brought up for the crown — if indeed Henry was fully 
resolved at this time — Duplessis Mornay did not as yet know. 
That faithful Protestant had but one object in view — to secure 
quiet for his native land without the sacrifice of principle. " We 
are engaged in treating for peace," he wrote on one occasion, 
" but nothing will be done to the prejudice of the glory of 
God." : Yet in the same letter he did not disguise his appre- 
hension of danger. " These men with whom we are treating 

1 See the graphic account in the Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste sur la 
vie de Duplessis Mornay, i. 218-220. 

' 2 Duplessis Mornay to Buzenval, April 18, 1592, Memoires, v. 303. 

3 Duplessis Mornay to M. de la Fontaine, May 16, 1592, Memoires, v. 334. 


demand much, but we must come out with boldness. They and 
we are like two combatants on the edge of a precipice, each un- 
certain who shall throw his fellow, each in danger, even when 
pushing, of himself falling in. Pray to God for us ! " ' 

As the result of much discussion, a memorandum was virtu- 
ally adopted for submission to Henry, under the heading, " The 
expedient proposed." It ran as follows : " The king shall prom- 
ise his instruction within a definite period, with desire and in- 
tention to unite himself to and join the Catholic Church, by 
means of the said instruction, conducted as comports with his 

" He shall permit the Catholics who accompany him to send 
to the pope, to be aided by his counsel and authority to facilitate 
and effect the said instruction, as is becoming. 

" And, meantime, consideration shall forthwith be secretly 
given to the most appropriate means of affording safety to relig- 
ion and to the private individuals who have an interest in the 
cause, whether to be employed after the conversion, or, if need 
be, before it, so as to relieve the kingdom of the burden of war 
by a suspension of hostilities or otherwise." 2 

Here were articles sufficiently vague and indefinite, articles, 
moreover, which, if not positively menacing to the Protestant in- 
terests, were certainly not free from suspicious phraseology. To 
understand the attitude of the Huguenot diplomatist in advo- 
cating the adoption of this basis of settlement, the articles must 
be read in connection with his private comments intended only 
for the king's eye — comments respecting which the writer was so 
anxious that he begged his majesty to return the despatch to the 
bearer in order that it might not go astray. 3 

" The intention is," says Duplessis Mornay, " that if the 
enemy approve this expedient, we shall settle with M. de Vil- 
leroy upon two kinds of articles ; the one to take effect when 

1 Duplessis Mornay to M. de la Fontaine, May 16, 1592, Memoire's, v. 335. 

2 The three articles appear in a minute sent to the king, accompanying a 
letter of Duplessis Mornay, dated Mantes, April 4, 1592, and entitled M Inex- 
pedient propose." Ibid., v. 270, 271. 

3 " Je supplie vostre majeste de rendre la presente despeche au porteur, afin 
qu'elle ne s'esgare." 

159a. THE ABJURATION. 305 

the conversion may have come about, the other before its occur- 
rence. 1 In which matter we must have this dexterity, to make 
the latter kind so good that they shall cause men to neglect the 
former, and consequently insist less upon the pretended con- 
version. For, when interests shall have been removed out of 
the way and personal desires shall have been satisfied, the bare 
pretext remaining will have no great weight in their case; and 
it may be that, without waiting to hear from the pope, they will 
pass on either to a peace or to a long truce which will detacli 
them from Spain." 2 

We must not be misled, by our knowledge of what actually 
occurred at a subsequent time, into supposing that, in penning 
The Huguenot these lines, Duplessis Mornay — zealous Protestant 
king^ "ki e that he was — had in his mind's eye any such " in- 
struction." s t rU ction " or " conversion " as that which, in point of 
fact, preceded the abjuration of Saint Denis. Duplessis Mornay 
looked forward, indeed, to an instruction as unavoidable. It 
had been promised by the king, and it was not in itself unde- 
sirable. But it was to be no mock-fight. Much rather was the 
world to witness an orderly marshalling of forces, Protestant 
and Roman Catholic, to discuss, in the august presence of the 
monarch, the points of doctrine, government, and practice re- 
garding which the two systems differed — a sort of grander and 
more equitable " Colloquy of Poissy," to which the theologians 
on both sides should come fully equipped ; where no arrogant 
Cardinal of Lorraine would be allowed to prescribe terms of 
subscription, because the contest would be presided over, not by 
a timid and time-serving queen-mother, nor by a feeble boy-king, 
but by a quick-witted and chivalric monarch who had faced the 
cannon's mouth, and could therefore be expected to despise the 
puny artillery of bigots. If, after such a conflict of learning 
and ability, the king should be " converted" — a supposition hard- 
ly possible — let the conversion come. The Huguenot statesman 
gave Henry of Navarre credit, notwithstanding all his faults, 
sensual and of other sorts — and no one knew the king's faults 

1 " Deux sortes d' articles : les ungs pour avoir lieu avenant la conversion, 
les aultres avant icelle." 2 Ibid., ubi supra. 

Vol. II.— 20 


better than did Duplessis Mornay, though the king had paid 
him this high tribute of respect that he never had made him 
the confidant of his amours ] — at leact, for the intention to af- 
ford a respectful and equal hearing to the representatives of 
his own religious views, men who had been his companion- in 
council and upon the battle-field. The Protestants would, Du- 
plessis Mornay was assured, enjoy the fullest opportunity of 
setting forth their own views and of combating those of their 
opponents. " His majesty promises to submit to instruction," 
he wrote. " This may engender a conference, perhaps within 
six or seven months. We must make preparations for it, and I 
have therefore persuaded him to agree that I should bring to- 
gether at Saumur seven or eight of the most distinguished min- 
isters of France, so that they may fortify themselves beforehand. 
I promise myself that, by a method which I have proposed to 
M. de Eeaulieu, and which he adopts heartily, great advantage 
will result. You know his good judgment. I have nominated 
}^ou, among others, to the king, and have obtained his con. -en t. 
I beg you to let me know whether you will be able to come to 
Saumur. Try by every means in your power to do so ; for it is 
a decisive move. It may, at latest, be in two months. His maj- 
esty will meet all the expenses." a 

Not content with merely sketching the general outlines of 
this preparatory conference of Protestant theologians, Duples- 
sis Mornay even elaborated the details. Be it a formal council 
of all France, or a simple colloquy, which should result from 
the promise of instruction, the fruits must not be lost by want 
of timely attention to some minute point of contro- 

A full and JL i • 1 1 -\ r -n \ -\ • 

fair discus- versy. Hie little band or Protestant theologians were 

not only to be well provided with lodging and food, 

but to have within reach every convenience, and especially to 

enjoy access to the best books. They were to refresh their mem- 

1 "Continuant en la facon dont il avoit tousjours vescu auparavant avec M. 
Duplessis, auquel, nonobstant quelconques privautez, il n'avoit jamais parle de 
ses amours, le tenant suspect en tous telz affaires." Memoires de Charlotte 
Arbaleste sur la vie de Duplessis Mornay, i. 84? 

2 Duplessis Mornay to M. de la Fontaine. May 16, 1592, Memoires, v. 335. 

1592. THE ABJURATION. 307 

cries as to the ancient Christian writers, and especially as to the 
scholastics. Each would have his special portion to study, and 
each would take notes of what he read. Thus would it be dis- 
tinctly seen for how long a time purity of doctrine had been 
maintained in the church, when and how abuses had crept in, 
by what means they had grown, and who were those who 
opposed them at each successive stage of their development. 
Men thus equipped for their work, entering into a dispute in 
the presence of a king whose single word would effectually 
check all extravagance of discussion, might reasonably expect 
both to strengthen his majesty's religious convictions and to 
prove to the most ignorant and malevolent of Roman Catholics 
that the Protestant system of doctrines rested on a firm foun- 
dation of truth and reason. 

Moreover, it was a part of the Huguenot statesman's plan that 
Henry should order a list to be drawn up of the Roman Cath- 
olic ecclesiastics most distinguished for learning, excellence of 
life, and zeal for the restoration of the church to its pristine 
purity. From this roll all vacancies in the hierarchy must be 
filled, in order that, when the council should assemble, it might 
be found that the soundest part of the Gallican clergy was rep- 
resented. Similar lists of the nobles and the judiciary were to 
be made. From their joint labors a greater glory would accrue 
to Henry the Fourth than had fallen to the lot of any or all 
princes during the last millennium. 1 

Unfortunately, the bright vision of Duplessis Mornay shared 
the fate of many another sanguine anticipation of the re- 
formers of the sixteenth century and their immediate succes- 
sors. The king listened with attention, with apparent approval, 
but never took the necessary measures to insure success. 

The negotiations of Duplessis Mornay and Villeroy came to 
nothing. The publicity which had unintentionally been given 
Thenegotia- to tnem rendered it advisable that the interviews be- 
tionends. tween the agents should be intermitted. But they 
had served the incidental purpose of revealing inclinations 
toward peace which had hitherto been concealed or denied, and 

1 Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste sur la vie de Duplessis Mornay, i. 238-241. 


of pointing out the terms of private advantage upon which the 
leaders, who prated loudly of their incorruptible integrity and 
unassailable disinterestedness, were at any moment prepared to 
betray and abandon their dupes. 

Upon Henry himself the suggestions of Villeroy and the 
pressure of the Roman Catholic nobles about him had one no- 
table effect. He resolved to attempt a more direct effort than 
he had ever before made to gain over the pontifical See. 
Death had of late been very busy with the occupants of the 
papal throne. Gregory the Fourteenth, the great 

Henry tries 

to make a Drop of the League, died in the month of October, 

friend of x r ° 

element the 1591. His successor, Innocent the Ninth, bade fair 
to follow in Gregory's footsteps, and had engaged to 
contribute fifty thousand crowns monthly from the revenues of 
the church to the support of the French rebels, when his pontifi- 
cate was abruptly ended by his decease, within two months after 
his elevation. A third pope now came upon the scene, in the per- 
son of Cardinal Aldobrandini, who assumed the designation of 
Clement the Eighth. Though a former partisan of Sixtns, and, 
like his master, no friend of the Spaniard, the new pontiff was 
too shrewd to fall into the mistake committed by Sixtns, and 
incur the suspicion or hatred of the powerful party of zealots 
at Home by withholding contributions to the maintenance of 
the French League, or by recalling from France that fiery leg- 
ate, the Bishop of Piacenza. 1 On the contrary, he deemed it 
prudent, before three months had elapsed, to issue, on the fif- 
* teenth of April, a brief addressed to that legate, pro- 

Clement's . f . _ _ - -P _ . * _ 

brief for the viding lor the election or a new and Catholic king or 
new and cath- France. The document had the usual fate of papal 
bulls about this time. It was duly registered by the 
Leaguer Parliament of Paris, while the royalist Parliament at 
Chalons forbade its publication, uttered threats against any 
person who should presume to retain a copy in his possession, 
denounced the men who were desirous of introducing " the 
Spanish barbarians " into the kingdom, and cited the legate to 
appear at the bar of the court. The Parliament of Paris re- 

1 Ranke, History of the Popes, 230. 

1592. THE ABJURATION. 309 

torted by ordering the decree of the Chalons judges to be pub- 
licly burned at the foot of the great staircase of the Palais de 
Justice, in the presence of the Duke of Mayenne. 1 

Not deterred by Clement's hostile demonstrations, Henry the 

Fourth resolved to send an embassy to Rome, with the view of 

paving the way to a reconciliation. The event was of m'oro 

than ordinary significance. Ostensibly, the Cardinal 

Cardinal i.^ij»ti i • i 

Gondy and or (rondy set out for Italy merely in the capacity 
ny sent to " of a member of the papal consistory ; the Marquis of 
Pisany, solely to visit his wife and his family connec- 
tions. In reality, the marquis was the bearer of the messages of 
the Roman Catholic princes of the court ; while with the cardi- 
nal Duplessis Mornay had, by royal command, held long con- 
ferences, and had fully instructed him as to the arguments he 
should employ in order to convince Clement of the absurdity of 
the pretext of religion alleged by the League. He was to assure 
the pope that those who now endeavored to make capital of the 
"heresy" of Henry had not scrupled to make advances to se- 
cure Henry's favor. He was to tell him that this was equally 
true of Philip himself, wdio had sought to induce him to rebel 
against Henry of Valois, by the offer of great treasure and by 
the promise not to desert him until he should have placed the 
French crown upon his head, and of the Duke of Mayenne, who 
had secretly solicited his alliance at the very moment when he 
was himself in command of an army for the extermination of 
the heretics. Gondy was to warn Clement, at the same time, of 
the impolicy of promoting the ambitious plans of Spain, which, 
if successful, would degrade the pope to the position of a private 
chaplain of the great king, and the cardinals to be the surpliced 
clerks of the royal chapel. He was to lay before him the danger 
of provoking to an open schism a country like France, which 
had of late been compelled to take decisive steps to curb ultra- 
montane insolence, whose parliaments had forbidden the faith- 
ful to send money to Rome, had burned papal bulls, and had 

1 See De Thou, viii. (book 103) 87-89; Recueil des choses memorables, 755- 
757 ; and, for the text of the arret of the Parliament of Chalons, Memoires 
de la Ligue, v. 188-190. 


made systematic arrangements for the supply of vacant benefices 
by recurring to tlie metropolitans, archbishops, and bishops of 
the kingdom, independently of the pontifical curia. 1 

There was one document wherewith the ambassadors went pro- 
vided which was not from the pen of Duplessis Mornay, author 
of most of the other despatches. This was a letter of Henry 
the Fourth himself to Clement. As often as the matter had 
been broached, Duplessis Mornay had dissuaded his master from 
writing to the pope. " Your majesty," said he, " cannot in 
good conscience write to him in the form used by your predeces- 
sors ; to write otherwise would be more damaging than useful." ' 
The letter which Henry actually sent is, therefore, the more 
interesting, as an indication of the complete submis- 

Henry'slet- . °' . r 

ter to the sion to papal authority here ioresnadowed. 

" Most holy Father," said the still professedly Prot- 
estant king to the head of the Roman Catholic Church, "as we 
are resolved to cause to be proffered in our name, and to ren- 
der during our entire life, the obedience which we owe to your 
Holiness and to the Apostolic See, we desire also to resume 
and to observe in all things the same means that have been held 
and employed by the Very Christian kings, our predecessors, in 
the observance of the honor and respect due to the Holy Father 
and the Holy See; and this for the purpose of entertaining, 
together with the filial devotion and reverence that belong to 
it, the good and perfect intelligence which is requisite between 
the Holy See and the kings and the kingdom of France, for the 
universal weal of Christendom and the maintenance therein of 
the holy Catholic church and religion." Hence his majesty was 
desirous of having an ordinary ambassador at Rome, and sent 
the Marquis of Pisany, who had served in this capacity under his 
predecessor, Henry the Third, "que Dieu absolve" — "whom 
may God pardon." 3 

1 Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste sur la vie de Duplessis Mornay, i. 235-228 
See De Thou, viii. 85. 

2 Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, i. 230. One would infer from Madame 
Duplessis Mornay 's words that she was ignorant of the fact that the king wrote 
to Clement despite her husband's advice. 

s Henry IV. to the pope, October 8, 1592, Lettres missives, iii. 674, 675. 

1592. THE ABJURATION. 311 

It might be little that the king deliberately inserted the objec- 
tionable formula which had so scandalized his old companions in 
arms and his Protestant fellow-believers at the time of his acces- 
sion to the throne : it was of more consequence that the entire 
tone of this letter, as of a letter to the Duke of Tuscany sent by 
the same hands, betrayed a readiness to renounce Protestantism 
and to submit to the Romish church, quite irrespectively of any 
"instruction," whether by council, conference, or otherwise. 

And yet the pope was not ready to welcome the prodigal son 

who showed symptoms of a disposition to return ! Great was 

the iov, both in Rome and at Paris, when it was 

Clement for- J * 

wdsGondyto learned that the pope had shown such anger at the 
states of the news of Gondy's approach, that he actually sent a 

Dominican monk to meet him at Florence and forbid 
him to set foot within the States of the Church. In order to 
add insult to injury, the friar delivered the message to the car- 
dinal in the presence of the grand duke, and just when the lat- 
ter was giving in marriage one of his nieces to a prince of the 
house of Sforza. 1 

Will it be believed that, while sending Gondy and Pisany to 
Italy in order to prepare the way for a recognition by the pope 
based upon his approaching abjuration, Henry the Fourth was 
despatching another envoy, the Sieur du Maurier, across the 

British Channel, for the express purpose of deceiving 

Henry tries to - ' . , . . r n & 

deceive Queen Queen Elizabeth respecting his intentions s It was, 

Elizabeth. i o ? 

of course, beyond the range of possibility that his old 
and faithful ally should not speedily learn, from her agents in 
France and in Italy, the departure of Gondy and Pisany, and 
obtain a tolerably distinct idea of the contents of their instruc- 
tions. To lose English Protestant support before making sure 

1 "Etle meilleur est," gleefully writes a prominent sympathizer of the 
League at Rome to a friend in Paris, " que cette ambassade s'est faicte sans 
aucun respect du lieu 011 se trouvoit lors ledit cardinal, mesmes on n'en parla 
aucunement audit grand due, qui est le plus grand affront que Ton lui pouvoit 
faire." It is almost needless to say that the League took good care to circulate 
the letter from which this sentence is taken, dated Rome, October 26, 1592, 
widely throughout France. It thus found its way into the Memoires de la 
Ligue, v. 183-5. See also De Thou, viii. 85-87 ; Lestoile, ii. 98. 


of the support of equally powerful Roman Catholic allies, would 
indeed be both a misfortune and a blunder. With unparalleled 
audacity Henry set himself to the task of deliberately misin- 
forming his " dear sister " and " best friend." It was a sorry 
piece of business for the victor of Coutras and Ivry to be en- 
gaged in, and one that reveals, perhaps, better than any other 
incident the fearful decadence of his moral nature. 

Henry did not deny the embassy to the pope, but explained 
it, and asked for the queen's counsel. The zeal of his partisans, 
he said, had grown somewhat cool through the length of the 
war, while the pressure of his enemies was ever increasing and 
well-nigh overpowered him. Division had entered his own 
party. The ecclesiastics, in particular, already lukewarm in 
their devotion because of his religious profession, had shown 
their ill will to such a degree that it almost seemed as though 
they had secretly consented to the choice of another Catholic 
king, for which his enemies were just now making preparations. 
In these circumstances the king found himself compelled to 
resume negotiations, and to promise to allow himself to be in- 
structed in the Catholic religion; the more so, as the Grand 
Duke of Tuscany, the Senate of Venice, and other allied princes 
had notified him that they would no longer support him, as tbey 
desired to do, should he not become a Catholic. He had there- 
fore requested Cardinal Gondy to proceed to Rome, and had 
impressed upon him his own ardent desire to see the present 
unhappy war ended, and to be instructed in the Catholic re- 
ligion. He had not, however, concealed the fact that a change 
of religion could not be effected in an instant, since his present 
faith had been implanted and nurtured within him from 
his youth up. Bouillon, Pisany, Schomberg, and Revol had 
conferred with the cardinal, and it had been agreed that the 
latter should assure the pope, as of his own motion and not 
empowered by the king, that Henry was ready to be instructed, 
if onlv the necessary time were granted and no force 

His intention ^ _ _ ^ . „ ° . 

to remain were exerted. "Meanwhile, proceeds the document, 

constant. . - . . . „ , . . 

with, unblushing eiironteiy, " the queen js to be noti- 
fied that it is the kind's intention not to forsake the religion of 
which he has always made, as he now still makes, profession ; 


and that, in order to protract this negotiation, the cardinal will 
be followed by the Marquis of Pisany, who is deputed by 
the nobles of the kingdom. 1 . . . The king thinks that the 
path which he intends following is that which is best adapted to 
enable him to take time to consider and provide for his preser- 
vation. On this point he will beg the queen to give him her 
counsel, being well assured that she will not refuse it to him, 
and, moreover, that she would not advise him to change his 
religion, or to do anything contrary to his conscience." 2 

After these barefaced falsehoods the envoy was instructed to 
inform the queen of the king's intention to assemble those prel- 
ates and ecclesiastics of his realm who were most reasonable and 
best affected to his service, and to notify them of his intention 
to be instructed, " being sure that, by fine promises, words, or 
otherwise, he will protract this affair as much as he may wish ; 
so that, even if they should make little progress in their design, 
nevertheless they will content foreign princes, the ecclesiastics, 
and the people, whose ears the rumor hereof shall reach, with 
the hope they will conceive of success in gaining over the king. 3 
Meanwhile his majesty will gather about him at this time some 
of the most learned ministers of his realm, for the purpose of 
inducing them to confer together in a friendly way respecting 

1 " Cependant ladicte Dame sera advertye que T intention dudict Seigneur 
Roy est de ne se departir de la religion de laquelle il a tousjours faict, comme 
il faict encores profession, et que pour faire traisner ceste negotiation en 
longueur ledict Sieur Cardinal seroyt [suivy] du Sieur Marquis de Pizany, 
lequel de la part de la Noblesse de ce Roiaulme doibt supplier respectueuse- 
ment le Pere commun de trouver bon," etc. 

2 "II a pense que la voye de laquelle il se voulloit servir estoyt la plus 
propre, pour cependant adviser et pourvoyer a sa conservation ; a quoy il sup- 
pliera ladicte Dame de luy donner son advis, s'asseurant quelle ne le luy re- 
fusera et ne luy voudroit aussy conseiller de changer de religion ny de rien 
faire contre sa conscience." 

3 "Leur faire entendre que sa resolution est de se faire instruire en la re- 
ligion catholicque, s'asseurant que par belles promesses, parolles ou aultrement 
faire traisner en telle longueur qu'il voudra, leur faisant bon visage ou leur 
faisant dons, de sorte qu'encor qu'ils advancent peu en leur desseing, neant- 
moings ils contenteront les princes estrangers," etc. The characteristic clause 
which I have italicized is omitted by Stahelin, but has every appearance of 


such difficulties as may arise. By means of such conferences he 
will be able in time to gain something from both parties, and 
by gentleness he will reconcile minds alienated by reason of 
wars." 1 

"Whether purposely or by accident, Henry, in his attempt to 
deceive his English ally, sketched an alluring prospect much 
resembling that which Duplessis Mornay had been fruitlessly 
endeavoring to realize, but he did it only to conceal his true 
intentions. Nor is it astonishing that Duplessis Mornay should 
have been duped as to his masters designs, in view of the fact 
that the quick-witted Queen of England, more remote from the 
scene of action and therefore better situated for taking a calm 
and dispassionate view, was completely hoodwinked. 2 The 
envoy was in fact surprised at his own success in convincing 
Queen Elizabeth. " She felt great pleasure,'' he noted down at 
a subsequent time, " when I explained to her what I had been 
commissioned to tell her. Only," he adds, with pardonable bit- 
terness, "something occurred, a year thereafter, which made 
me appear to be a liar, to be sure through no fault of my own." 

Meanwhile the clamor of the French people fur peace became 
loud and could not be suppressed. It found an utterance in 
The Parisians a proposition, made in a general municipal meeting, 
for peace. j^ \ n t h e Hotel de Ville of the capital on the 
twenty-sixth of October, to send a deputation to the "King 
Navarre "to treat with him the terms of an arrangement of 

1 MS. in Collection Dupuy, National Library at Pari?, t. 152, entitled 
moire au Sieur du Maurier, despesche par le Roy vers la Reyne dWngleterre 
et le sieur de Lomenie, son ambassadeur pres d'elle." Tbis important docu- 
ment bas been printed by Prince Galitzin, Lettres inedites de Henri IV. (Paris, 
1860), 94-98, and by D'Ouvre among tbe pieces justificatives appended to bis 
life of Du Maurier. Dr Stabelin gives a summary and some extracts. Ueber- 
tritt Konig Heinricbs des Vierten. 484-6. 

2 The remark is that of Dr. Stabelin. Ibid., 48T. 

3 D'Ouvre, apud Stabelin, 487. — Tbis seems to prove tbat Prince Galitzin i^ 
quite wrong in placing tbe " Instruction " (wbich, unfortunately, is not dated 
in the manuscript) so late as May, 1593. Although the editor of the supple- 
mentary volumes of the Lettres missives de Henri IV. evidently intended to 
insert the document (see ix. 155, note), I have looked in vain for it in his 

1592. THE ABJURATION. 315 

some sort. For such a negotiation, however, the Duke of 
Mayenne was not jet ready. It suited his purpose better to 
await the convocation of the states general which had been 
summoned, in the interests of the League, to meet in the city of 
Paris ; for he cherished the vain hope that after all the ambi- 
tion of the Spaniard might be disappointed, and the coveted 
crown might yet be placed upon his own head. Consequently 
he rebuked the city for having ventured, in his absence, to en- 
tertain a motion diametrically opposed to the oath that had 
been taken, and advised the impatient burghers to await the 
issue of the approaching conference between the representa- 
tives of the whole nation. 1 Plucking up courage, he even made 
use of this event as an occasion for endeavoring to seduce the 
Koman Catholic followers of Henry from their allegiance. The 
lengthy appeal which the duke put forth in the month of De- 
cember, 1592, was followed, on the fifteenth of the 
the legate ap- next month, by an equally prolix " Exhortation " to 
loyai Roman the same effect, emanating from the Cardinal Legate of 
Piacenza, who, on more than one occasion, had proved 
himself no unworthy successor of Pope Sixtus's rebellious envoy, 
Cardinal Cajetan. 2 Neither the layman nor the ecclesiastic 
spared the piety of Roman Catholics, who, while they professed 
subjection to the pope, continued, in defiance of his anathemas, 
to follow the fortunes of the heretic. The legate, indeed, waxed 
hot in his denunciations, not respecting in his inconsiderate 
passion even those immemorial liberties of the French eccles- 
iastical system which, on the northern side of the Alps, were 
regarded as the very stronghold of defence against papal usur- 
pation. "By your discord and connivance," he exclaimed, 
"you have suffered heresy to gain such foothold that it no 
longer asks, as heretofore, the favor of enjoying impunity, but 

1 " Response faicte par le due de Mayenne en l'assemblee generale tenue en 
la maison de ville de Paris, le jeudi 6 Novembre, sur la proposition de paix 
conclue en son absence, et depuis ce 26 Octobre ; " reprinted in Memoires de 
la Ligue. v. 187. 

2 Any one curious to plod through these documents may peruse them in the 
Memoires de la Ligue — the "Declaration" of the Duke of Mayenne, v. 283- 
294, and the " Exhortation " of the legate, v. 312-323. 


begins to punish, how cruelly every one knows, those who, being 
more solicitous for their salvation, refuse to submit to its yoke. 
Strange and unfortunate change, that makes you detest as an 
extreme vice what you yourselves have taught others to be an 
excellent virtue, and, on the other hand, makes you crown the 
same crime which you ought still to-day to condemn to the fire, 
as you did in the past. Such is the power of the deadly poison 
of heresy, whose contagion has engendered those many absurd- 
ities and contradictions which, if you will but lay your hand 
upon your conscience, you dare not deny prevail among you. 
Tor, to venture to maintain that the privileges and liberties of 
the Gallican Church extend so far as to permit one to recognise 
as king a relapsed heretic, who has been cut off from the body 
of the Church Universal, is a frenzied dream proceeding from 
no other source than from heretical contagion." ' 

It was in these circumstances that a thought presented itself 
to the minds of two of the king's most sincere and trusty ser- 
vants, which was destined in the end to bring the present critical 
condition of affairs to an unexpected issue. The Duke of May- 
enne had invited the princes and nobles who followed the 
king's fortunes to confer with those who had thrown in their 
lot with the League, at the meeting of the pretended st 
general in the city of Paris. Why not take advantage of the 
professed willingness to discuss the matters in dispute ? AVhv 
not respond by a counter-invitation, which the duke and his 
partisans could not decline without clearly exposing themselves 
to the charge of insincerity? The time had come when the 
danger menacing France no longer came from the League, but 
from the Spaniard. That danger must be conjured, peace must 
be restored by the united efforts of both parties. So 

Schomberg 1*1 1 -i « 1 1 . 

and De Thou thought Gaspard de Schomberg and his bosom friend, 
peace con- the future historian Jacques Augustede Thou. Tliev 


consequently requested the king to lend his sanction 
to a conference, to be held in some neutral place outside of Pa- 
ris, where the royalist nobles might ask their brethren in the 
other camp to meet them. Their words were eloquent, their 

1 Memoires de la Ligue, v. 316. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 317 

plea for peace was forcible and coincident with the desires of 
their royal auditor. There could be no doubt whither their 
arguments tended ; for a conference that offered to the king's 
rebellious subjects no guarantees of an approaching renunciation 
of Protestantism would have been worse than futile. But 
Henry of Bourbon did not draw back from the meeting at 
which the bargain must be sealed. He had, indeed, some words 
to say in reply about his faith and his convictions, words much 
like those he had uttered many times before, and accompanied 
by the usual profession of a teachable mind. " Men reproach 
me with my religion," he said ; " but you know that I am not 
obstinately attached to it. If I am in error, let those who at- 
tack me with so much fury instruct me and show me the path 
of safety." ' 

The invitation sent by " the princes, prelates, officers of the 
erown, and chief Catholic lords, as well of the council of the 
invitation of king as others being near his majesty," has come down 
nobie7 ali8t to us > an d * s an instructive document. Adopted in 
the presence of Henry in the city of Chartres, on the 
twenty-seventh of January, 1593, it was carried the next day 
to Paris by a royal herald. The writer skilfully took advantage 
of the situation. He made the princes express their hearty ac- 
cord with the Duke of Mayenne in the sentiments he had ut- 
tered in his recent declaration, respecting the disastrous results 
sure to flow from the continuation of the war, not only to the 
material interests of the kingdom, but to the Catholic religion 
itself. Only the restoration of peace would repair the losses 
sustained by the cities, re-establish commerce and the arts and 
trades by which the people are nourished, give fresh life to 

1 " On m'objecte ma religion ; mais vous scavez que je n'y suis pas attache 
-avec obstination. Si je suis dans l'erreur, que ceux qui m'attaquent avec tant 
de fureur, m'instruisent, et me montrentla voye du salut." De Thou (who is 
our best authority), viii. 212. See however, also, Davila, 587, 588, who gives 
as one of the reasons why a plan looking so directly toward abjuration came 
■to be adopted by Henry, the significant circumstance that ' k the Sieur du 
Plessis [Mornay] was far off, who, with his reasons, partly theological, para- 
political, was wont to withhold him and put scruples in his mind, to the end 
he might not change his religion." 


the universities and the other schools of learning, former] 
flourishing and a source of splendor and renown to the realm, 
but now in a languishing and moribund condition ; only the re- 
turn of peace would secure cultivation for the fields which, in- 
stead of yielding, as of old, fruits meet for the sustenance of 
man, lay fallow or were covered with a hideous growth of thorns 
and thistles. The princes therefore accepted the proposition of 
the duke, and signified their willingness to confer, by means of 
deputies, with such " good and worthy personages " as the ad- 
herents of the League might be pleased to select. They sug- 
gested, however, that the place for the colloquy, instead of the 
capital, should be some spot between Paris and Saint Denis. 
But if the advances now made should be rejected, if the way of 
conciliation should be rejected and other ways pernicious to re- 
ligion and to the state should be chosen, and if France should, 
in consequence, be brought to the extremity of ruin and mi- 
a prey to the greed and covetousness of the Spaniards and a 
monument of the triumph of their insolence — if all these dis- 
asters should be brought about by the hands and the blind 
passions of men bearing the name of Frenchmen, degenerate 
sons of honorable ancestors, they protested that the blame inu>t 
not rest upon the royalists, but upon those whose refusal would 
prove that they preferred the measures that might serve t«> ad- 
vance their own greatness and selfish ambition above the means 
for the promotion of God's honor and the salvation of the realm. 1 
Two days after the publication of the " Proposition " of the 
princes, Henry put forth his own answer to the Duke of 
Henr 's an- Mayenne's manifesto, with the intention of strength- 
ewer to May- en [ U g- the courage of that growing party within the 

enne's mam- o o or. 

festo. League which, with daily increasing distinctness, 

declaring itself favorable to reconciliation and peace. 3 On the 
one hand, his majesty denounced the League as nothing else 

1 "Proposition des Princes, Prelats, Officiers de la Couronne et principaux 
Seigneurs Catholiques, tant du Conseil du Roy, qu'autres estans pre? M Ma 
reprinted in Memoires de la Ligue, v. 304-307, and in Cayet, Chronologic 
novenaire, 423, 424. Also in Davila (book 13), 585, 586. 

2 "Declaration duRoy sur les impostures et fausses inductions contenues en 
un escrit public sous le nom du Due de Mayenne," dated Chartres, January 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 319 

than a plot against the royal authority, and ridiculed the pre- 
tension that the fundamental law had been changed by Henry 
the Third's declaration at the States of Blois, in 1588. " It is 
the province of the laws," said he, " and not of kings to fix 
the succession to the throne ; not to mention that the states 
themselves acted, not with free deliberation, but as open con- 
spirators, and that Henry the Third's declaration was extorted 
from him by violence." On the other hand, the monarch re- 
iterated, with more emphasis than ever before, his intention to 
gratify the expectations of his Roman Catholic subjects in the 
matter of religion. The most careless reader could see the 
word " abjuration " written under sifch expressions as these : 
" We shall never fail to make known that we have no obstinacy, 
and that we are quite prepared to receive all good instruction and 
to submit ourselves to what God shall counsel us as being for our 
welfare and salvation." Yet, even when about to perform so 
immoral an act as the insincere renunciation of the religious 
creed in which he had been educated from his earliest years, 
Henry could not allow the opportunity to pass without indulg- 
ing in a phrase or two of lofty sentiment. And thus it hap- 
pens that, in the light of the farce enacted, less than six months 
later, at Mantes and Saint Denis, under the title of a conversion, 
the king's own words constitute the most bitter censure of his 
unprincipled deed, and a prophecy of the harvest of hypocrisy 
and scepticism sown by that act in the courtiers whom he in- 
duced to copy his example. " It must not be deemed 

His view of a *i /->< -i -i • -i • • c l • i 

heartless con- strange by all our Catholic subjects, it, having been 

version. _ . - _, . -i-it -n 

nurtured in the religion we now hold, we are unwill- 
ing to abandon it without first having been instructed, and be- 
fore it has been proved to us that the religion which they desire 
in us is the better and the more certain religion. This instruc- 
tion in good form is the more necessary in us, as the example of 
our conversion would conduce much to influence others. More- 
over, it would be to err in the first principles of religion and to 

29, 1593. Text in Memoires de la Ligue, v. 295-304, and Cayet, 425-429. 
See also Recueil des choses memorables, 759, 760, Lestoile, ii. 115, De Thou, 
viii. 213-218. 


show that we had no religion, were we to consent, in answer to a 
simple summons, to change ours, with so precious a matter at 
stake as the answer to the question, Whereupon must a man 
found his hope of salvation ? " ' 

Great was the consternation of the leaders at Paris. Great 
was their embarrassment in deciding how to deal with the pro- 
posal of the loyal Roman Catholics.' The more extreme were 
in favor of taking no notice of it whatever. The legate dis- 
tinguished himself by his intemperate conduct. He 

Embarrass- ° . J . l . 

mentofthe rose up in great anger, exclaiming that the princes 
proposition was full of heresies, and those were here- 
tics that should take it into consideration. It was therefore 
fitting, he maintained, that no answer should be returned. Car- 
dinal Pelleve and Ibarra, the Spanish ambassador, were of the 
same opinion. Not so, however, with the rest. Yilleroy and 
President Jeannin insisted that a message brought to the repre- 
sentatives of the three orders could not be rejected without a 
reference to the states general. The Duke of Mayenne, whom 
the recent conduct both of Philip the Second and of the pope 
had not been calculated to conciliate, was quite willing to thwart 
the purposes of the Spanish and pontifical envoys, while he 
still retained the external semblance of deference to the wishes 
of his august allies. Nor was his good humor restored by the 
visit which he thought fit to make to the Duke of Feria and 
Dispute be- Inigo de Mendoza, at Soissons. For the ambassadors 
enneliSldthe llls i ste d much upon the necessity of at once electing 
Duke of Feria. t i ie l n f an ta queen of France, but had no authority to 
assist the cause of the League with more than the paltry sum of 
twenty-five thousand ducats; while the troops brought by Count 
Charles of Mansfelt amounted to only four thousand foot and 

1 " Ce seroit aussi errer aux principes de religion, et montrer n'en avoir 
point, que de vouloir, sous une simple semonce, nous iaire changer la nostre, 
y allant de chose si precieuse, que de ce en quoi il faut fonder l'esperance de 

' 2 De Thou gives a brief statement of the arguments employed on botli side? 
Davila's account of the scene when the letter of the royalist prince- iraa 
brought to the small council summoned by the Duke of Mayenne. then ill, to 
his bedroom to hear it, is animated and interesting, book 13, 5So, 588, etc. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 321 

one thousand horse. To make up for the meagreness of the 
present support, the Spaniards dwelt at length upon the future 
munificence of Philip, who, when once his daughter should be 
well seated on the throne, would give her fifty thousand foot 
and ten thousand horse, and lavish all the treasure of his king- 
dom to secure her success. When Mavenne ur^ed the necessitv 
of coating that bitter pill, the violation of the Salic law, to render 
it palatable to the French states general, Mendoza had the 
effrontery to declare that it was notorious that all the deputies 
would not only accept the Infanta, but would beg Philip to grant 
her to be their queen ; indeed, that Mavenne was the only per- 
son who opposed the universal desire. This was too much for 
the pride of the ambitious Frenchman. He informed Mendoza, 
for all reply, that he knew nothing about the affairs of France 
if he supposed that the Spaniards could manage its deputies as 
they were accustomed to govern the senseless Indians. The de- 
bate soon degenerated into an unseemly altercation, Feria telling 
Mavenne that the Spaniards would assume the command of the 
army and intrust it to the Duke of Guise ; while Mayenne, in 
a towering rage, declared that he had it in his power to turn all 
France against the Spaniards, and, if he pleased, to shut them 
out of the kingdom in a single week. Feria and Mendoza, he 
said, were playing the parts rather of ambassadors of " the King 
of Navarre " than of the Catholic King, and could not have 
done Henry better service, had they been paid by him. As for 
himself, he was not yet their subject, and, judging from the 
usage he had received at their hands, it was very unlikely he 

ever would be such. 1 However, Mayenne was too 
terms with valuable an ally to the Spaniards, and the Spaniards 

were likely to be too indispensable to Mayenne, that 
the two parties should so abruptly part company. By the next 
morning the duke had thought better of the matter, and with 
the help of skilful intermediaries a hollow reconciliation was 
effected. 2 In return for his solemn promise, to secure, by all 
honorable means in his power, the election of the Infanta Dona 

1 Davila (book 13), 591-594. 

2 Ibid., 597 ; De Thou, viii. 220. 
Vol. II.— 21 

• \ 


Isabella by the states general, Mayenne, than whom there was 
no negotiator of the period more proficient in the art of provid- 
ing for future emergencies, stipulated for, and obtained from 
Feria, terms as large as the demands with which he had, a }-ear 
before, startled Duplessis Mornay. The Spanish ambassador 
engaged, in the name of his master, that the Dnke of Mayenne 
should receive the Duchy of Burgundy, with all its revenues, as 
an hereditary possession to be transmitted in the male line to his 
descendants, the crown reserving for itself only a claim to bare 
sovereignty. He was to have an income of two hundred thou- 
sand crowns from the revenues of other provinces, to be put in 
possession of the government of Normandy, to obtain the dis- 
charge of all the debts he had contracted in the service of France 
and its new queen, to derive another sum of two hundred thou- 
sand crowns from Philip's funds, a third sum of twice that 
amount from the Infanta, to be lieutenant-general until the 
coming of the princess, and, after that event, one of the greatest 
dignitaries of state. On these conditions, with no less than two 
additional provisions for the further replenishment of his insa- 
tiate pocket, the Duke of Mayenne declared himself forever 
satisfied. It must be confessed that he would have been hard 
to please had he required more. 1 

The discussion of the proposition of the princes of Henry's 
party by the states general of the League soon showed the 
The League temper of the people. Had the deputies themselves 
agrTesT^the been lukewarm, the Parliament of Paris would have 
conference. arouse( j them by a protest ; had neither states nor par- 
liament been attentive to the signs of the times, the miserable 
inhabitants of the capital, harassed by a state of partial siege 
that had already lasted three years, would have broken out in 
open revolt. Even the legate was brought to recognize the 
necessity of yielding to the overwhelming force of public senti- 
ment, which already condemned him for inordinate deference to 

1 "Copie de la Promesse que le Due de Feria a faite au Due de Mayenne 
relativement aux interets particuliers de celui-ci et Promesse du Due de May- 
enne," Soissons, February, 1593, in De Croze, Les Guises, les Valois et Philippe 
II., ii. 410-414. 


the Spaniard. Finally an answer was drawn up, on the fourth 
of March, in the name of Mayenne, and of the princes, prelates, 
and deputies. Montmartre, St. Maur, and the queen's house 
at Chaillot were suggested as places at any one of which royalist 
and Leaguer might meet for a consideration of the present un- 
happy state of France. 1 In the end, none of these localities was 
chosen, but the quiet village of Suresnes, on the other bank of 
the Seine, was selected, and the month of April was appointed 
as the time. 2 

Meanwhile the states general summoned by the League, with 
the full approval of the Papal See, had been for several months 
nominally sitting in the castle of the Louvre. Opened on the 
twenty-sixth of January, with an attendance of deputies con- 
trasting: very disadvantageous! y with previous assem- 

The 6tates - 

general of the blies held under royal sanction, this body, on account 
of Mayenne's absence from the city, deferred its second 
formal session until the second of April. It is not within the 
province of this history to detail the acts of a well-known con- 
vocation, whose most salient features have been held up to im- 
mortal ridicule in the wonderfully acute descriptions of the 
" Satyre Menippee." The Spaniards had anticipated an easy 
triumph by means of this assembly, convened in imitation of 
the ancient representative bodies of the French people. In the 
second session the Duke of Feria extolled to the skies the dis- 
interestedness of his master, from whom he presented a letter 
addressed to the states themselves ; but he went no farther than 
to express the hope entertained by Philip, that a king would be 
elected both zealous in the matter of religion and sufficiently 
powerful to secure France from her enemies. Cardinal Pelleve 
replied in a prolix speech still more laudatory of the Catholic 
king and of his achievements. In the peroration he pictured 

1 Text of the answer in Memoires de la Ligue, v. 308-312, and Davila, 597- 
599. See Recueil des choses memorables, 760 ; De Thou, viii. 220-222. 

2 Montmartre, on the north, and Chaillot, on the west, have, within the pres- 
ent generation, been absorbed in the City of Paris. St. Maur lies beyond 
Charenton, in a curve of the Marne. Suresnes is situated on the left bank of 
the Seine, just west of the capital, opposite the Bois de Boulogne and Long- 
champs, and barely two miles north of St. Cloud. 


Philip, at the close of his mortal course, rewarded for his vir- 
tues and enjoying the beatific vision of God, in company with 
the spirits of the blessed. " Into whose tabernacles, when he 
shall have been raised by the hand of God, the Rewarder of 
the pains and labors he has undergone for religion's sake, not 
only will there come to meet him a thousand of thousands of 
angels, who wait upon and serve the King of kings ; but, in 
addition, an infinite number of people whom he has rescued, 
some from the thick darkness of infidelity, others from the ob- 
stinacy and wickedness of their heresies, will present them- 
selves to him with gladness, bearing in their hands crowns 
which will add fresh lustre to the crown prepared for him by 
God." ' 

But when it came to practical results, the Spaniards, as well 

as the legate, had disappointment in store for them. A spark 

of the old spirit of national feeling still burned in the 

The decrees of _ . . _ . . . , . 

Trent under breasts ot the deputies. A commission, appointed by 

discussion. , , , r i s> 

the states to examine into the decrees or the Coun- 
cil of Trent, whose reception in France was again pressed by 
the pope, reported that they found them to be in conflict with 
the laws and usages of the kingdom, and with the prescrip- 
tions of the Pragmatic Sanction and the liberties of the Gal- 
lican Church. It was a significant circumstance that, of the 
two commissioners who drew up a document fatal to the pre- 
tensions of Rome, one was the first president of the Parliament 
of Paris, Jean Le Maistre, who had been elevated to office by 
the Duke of Mayenne himself. 3 A month later, the same spirit 
of opposition to foreign interference exhibited itself in another 
and very unexpected quarter. A conference was held at the 
palace of the papal legate, to which none but persons of unques- 
tioned zeal for the League were invited. Each of the three 
orders was represented by two delegates. The Archbishop of 
Lyons and Rose, Bishop of Senlis, were there for the clergy. 

1 The Duke of Feria's speech is given in the Memoires de la Ligue, v. 341- 
345, Philip the Second's letter, ibid., v. 345, 346, and Cardinal Pelleve's reply, 
ibid., v. 346-353. 

* De Thou, viii. (book 105) 231-236. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 325 

In this select company the Duke of Feria made bold to propose 
openly the election of the Infanta, daughter of Elizabeth of 
France, and granddaughter of Henry the Second and Catha- 
rine de' Medici. He declared that his master, who had already 
spent six million gold crowns in defence of Roman Catholicism 
in France, would send in the early autumn, in addition to the 
army of ten thousand men now on the frontier, a second force 
of equal size, not to speak of subsidies for French troops. It 
was then that, to the amazement of all present, the Bishop of 
Senlis broke out upon the Duke of Feria with rough 

The Bishop of *, . . . , . 

senlis on span- words. "Ihe I olitiques, said he, " were right in 

ish ambition. ... ,.. tit 

maintaining that your ambition was covered by the 
cloak of religion. In conjunction w T ith the other preachers, ani- 
mated by a true zeal for the Holy Union, I have been trying 
to refute their statements. Now I learn, from what you have 
just advanced, that what I took to be calumnies invented by 
the sectaries are the true sentiments and views of the Span- 
iards. For twelve hundred years the Salic law has been in 
force in France. If this venerable law be infringed by plac- 
ing a woman upon the throne, must we not fear that the sceptre 
may through her pass into the hands of a stranger, and that 
a monarchy which owes its glory and power to an inviolable 
law may in the sequel be brought to nothingness ? " ' The states 
general did not go so far as this, for if they declined the proposi- 
tion of the Spaniards to elect the Archduke Ernest of Austria 
king of France, with the Infanta as his consort, and warned 
them that the French nobles would never accept a foreigner as 
their monarch, they formally requested that the Infanta marry 
a French prince, who should thereupon be elected to the vacant 
throne. 2 But the Parliament of Paris grew T daily more out- 
spoken in its resistance to Spain and to Spain's am- 

Pre6ident Le * . . * l . 

Maistre's bitious designs. Jbmally, on the twenty-eighth or 

manly protest. x . *?. J \ . -, -, . „ 

June, it published a formal resolution declaring null 
and void any treaty or convention, made or to be made, con- 
trary to the Salic law, or for the election of a foreign prince 

1 De Thou, viii. 265. The conference took place May 20, 1593. 

2 Ibid., 275, 276. 


or princess. Nor did President Le Maistre, whom the judges 
deputed to carry the paper to the Duke of Mayenne, fail to 
fortify their position by pertinent reference to former mi. -haps 
to France arising from female domination — to the seditions 
and civil wars caused, under the first race of kings, by Frede- 
gonde and Brunehaut ; to the troubles occasioned, under the 
second race, by Judith, wife of Louis le Debonnaire ; to the dis- 
quiet of the regency of Blanche, mother of Saint Louis. ; * Fi- 
nally," said he, " we still remember with horror the bloody 
tragedies of which France was the theatre under Catharine de' 
Medici." ' When subsequently summoned by the Duke of May- 
enne, and reproached with ingratitude to the benefactor to whom 
he owed his present exalted position, Le Maistre defended him- 
self and the parliament with firmness and dignity, and he wa.> 
rewarded by the unanimous endorsement of the court over 
which he presided. 2 Not otherwise than parliament thought 
the people, who insulted the legate, hooted at the Duke of 
Feria when he came out into the streets, and even threw stones 
at him as he passed. 3 

The eventful Conference of Suresnes has become a part of 

the general history of France. Happily, among the deputies 

on the royal side was the historian Jacques Augnste 

The Confer- _ __. J . . . ,, r ■< 

ence of Su- De lhou, who has devoted the greater part of the one 

hundred and sixth book of his immortal work to a 

narrative of the successive sessions, than which nothing can be 

more authentic, and in which those anxious to follow the tortu- 

1 " Arrest donne en la Cour de Parlement a Paris, le 28. jour de Join, 1 

in Memoires de la Ligue, v. 397. See De Thou, viii. 280, etc. ; Lestoile, ii. 

2 "Ledit Sieur le Maistre lui fit response, que s'il entendoit parler <le lui, 
que a la verite il avoit receu beaucoup d'honneur de lui. estant pourveu d'un 
Estat de President en icelle, mais neantmoins qu'il s'estoit tousjoars conserve 
la liberte de parler franchenient, principalement des choses qui conoernent 
l'honneur de Dieu, la justice, et le soulaireinent du peuple, n'ayant rapporte 
autre fruict de cest Estat en son particulier que de la peine et du travail beau- 
coup, lequel estoit cause de la mine de sa maison, et que lui estoit expose a la 
calomnie de tons les mesehans de la ville." Account of the interview of June 
30, in Memoires de la Ligue, v. 399. De Thou, viii. 285. 

3 Lestoile, ii. 145. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 327 

ous paths of the negotiation can easily trace it. One significant 
fact, however, is not mentioned by De Thou, which deserves to 
be referred to here. When the royalist deputies, with the Arch- 
bishop of Bo urges at their head, were about to start for the 
appointed place of meeting, a desire was felt to know with 
greater definiteness, and from the lips of the monarch himself, 
what Henry the Fourth's intentions really were ; and Monsieur 
d'O was chosen to put the question bluntly to his majesty. It 
w r as no time for doubtful or ambiguous assurances, and Henry 
gave none. Not even in his letters to the pope and to the Grand 
Duke of Tuscany had he spoken so distinctly. He informed 
d'O that he had contemplated going over to the Roman Catho- 
Henry-sinti- ^ c Church from the very moment of his accession 
w™£2™i 8 to the throne, and that he was in earnest when he 

intended con- " 

version. promised to submit to instruction within six months. 

Circumstances beyond his control had prevented the fulfilment 
of his engagement — the obstacles thrown in the way by succes- 
sive popes; the probability or certainty that the Protestants, 
abandoned by him, would elect another Protector in his stead ; 
the power of the League yet unbroken ; the avidity of the peo- 
ple for a war whose hardships they had not yet experienced. 
In such conditions, his conversion would have failed to secure 
peace to France. Not so at present. " For," said he, with easy 
frankness, " I have taken measures to make sure of and to sum- 
mon to me all those of the [Reformed] religion who might create 
a disturbance. As for the heads of the League, they have not at 
present forces enough to resist me without the help of the Span- 
iard. As to the people of that party, I know that the annoy- 
ance they have experienced from the war makes them desire 
peace. Having, therefore, secured those of the [Reformed] re- 
ligion who might make a disturbance, I am resolved to ruin the 
< tiers parti ' entirely by means of my conversion to the Roman 
Catholic religion. This conversion I hope to execute through 
the instruction to be given me by the French prelates, whom I 
shall convene within three months at farthest. There will then 
remain only the adherents of the League, and with them, I 
hope, by the instrumentality of the conference agreed upon 
(should the deputies deport themselves properly), to bestow 

The first dis- 


upon my people the peace which they so much need. Inform 
the Archbishop of Bourges of my intention, and let him man- 
age this affair according to his prudence." ' 

Delighted with the possession of a weapon whose importance 
they could scarcely over-estimate, the Archbishop of Bourges 
and his associates boldly engaged the deputies of the 
League. Of these the most prominent were the Arch- 
bishop of Lyons, President Jeannin of the Parliament of Dijon, 
and Yillars, the brave defender of Rouen, recently rewarded 
for his services by Mayenne with the post of high admiral, once 
held by Gaspard de Coligny. The discussion became from the 
start a tilt between the two archbishops. The prelate of Bour- 
ges extolled the prospective benefits of peace, and demonstrated 
that through submission to the king alone could the attainment 
of peace be hoped for. The prelate of Lyons maintained, on 
the contrary, that provision must first be made for the safety of 
religion. The former set forth the claims of the ruling mon- 
arch, a descendant of Saint Louis, no idolater, or Mohammedan, 
but a prince who had received Christian baptism, who pro- 
fessed to hold the same creed as the Roman Catholic Church, 
and who, if not entirely free from error, had always offered to 
submit to instruction. The latter ransacked history, both .-acred 
and profane, to prove the extreme danger of obeying a heretical 
prince. The Archbishop of Bourges showed that neither un- 
der the old nor under the new Dispensation were subjects per- 
mitted to revolt against their prince upon the pretext of relig- 
ion. The Jews were indeed forbidden to elect a foreign king 
lest he lead them into idolatry ; yet, on the one hand. Jeconiah 
having, in obedience to the prophet Jeremiah's injunctions, sub- 
mitted to Nebuchadnezzar, saved his own life and the liv< 
his wife and children, and, on the other hand, Zedekiah, who 
refused to submit, saw his children slain before his face, and 
was then himself deprived of his eyes, while Jerusalem was 

1 Cayet, Chronologie novenaire (Edition Michaud et Poujoulat), 445. I 
concur with Dr. Stahelin, Uebertritt Heinricli des Vierten, 521, S22, that the 
absence of reference to this interview with Monsieur d'O by any writer except 
Cayet is not sufficient ground for scepticism as to its occurrence. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 329 

laid waste, the temple burned, and the people carried away into 
captivity. The Archbishop of Lyons declared that Heresy is a 
crime of treason against God, annihilates all privileges, and de- 
grades all who are its followers. An heretical king is so much 
the more criminal, as he is, by virtue of his office, specially 
bound to defend religion, and as his example is more dangerous 
than that of a private person. 

Others took part in the debate. The royalists alleged the 
immemorial right exercised by the French to defend themselves 
against papal aggression. The Leaguers denied the so-called 
Gallican Liberties. They maintained that these privileges were 
pure fictions of the imagination. The friends of Henry pressed 
the other }arty to set forth clearly the terms upon which they 
w T ould conclude a peace which they affected so ardently to de- 
sire. His opponents, through their old spokesman, declared 
that they must wait to hear from the pope, whose commands 
they were ever ready to obey. 1 

So passed the first three sessions, held at intervals during the 
latter part of April and the beginning of May. Toward recon- 
ciliation little or no progress had been made. The moment had 
come when something decisive must be done. The fourth 
session took place on the seventeenth of May. The royalist 
deputies Schomberg and Revol were bearers of an important 
announcement. His majesty had written letters to all the prin- 
cipal prelates of his realm, in which he declared that the re- 
gret he felt at the misery into which France had been 
the bishops to plunged under pretext of religion, and his desire to 
testify to his good Catholic subjects his sense of their 
fidelity and affection, had determined him, in order that he 
might leave them, if possible, no scruple based on the diversity 
of his religion, to receive at the earliest moment instruction on 
the differences whence proceeded the schism existing in the 
Church. For this purpose he invited them to meet him at 
Mantes, on the fifteenth day of the ensuing month of July. 
He assured them " that they would find him well disposed and 
teachable in all those matters which ought to influence a Yery 

1 De Thou, viii. (book 106) 238-258. 


Christian King, a monarch having nothing more deeply graven 
on his heart than zeal for the service of God and the mainten- 
ance of His true Church.' 1 l Similar letters had been sent to 
the chief nobles of the kingdom, to secure their presence on 
the august occasion. 2 

The secret of the king's intention had been well kept ; the 
surprise of the Archbishop of Lyons and his associates was 
opposition of correspondingly great. Yet the virtual promise con- 
the League, tained in the royal letters produced upon the pro- 
fessed advocates of the Roman Catholic Church no such imme- 
diate effects as might have been anticipated. Instead of hasten- 
ing to welcome the royal convert, they lost no time in making 
his way more difficult, and in attempting to rob him of any ad- 
vantage which his conversion might procure him. Then it was 
that, as we have seen, the Infanta's election was pressed upon 
the reluctant states ; then it was that, as an answer to the 
king's declaration, the deputies of the League wrote letters for 
general circulation, in some of which they confined themselves to 
the expression of incredulity respecting the proposed conversion 
of one who had not yet intermitted the public exercises of a 
worship which he was beginning to blame, nor dismissed its min- 
isters, and who was notoriously the same in words and in deeds 
that he always had been ; 3 then it was that others undertook to 
prove that a heretic can never be sincerely converted. Sooner 
might the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots, 
than a sectary return to the bosom of the Church. The thing 
might occur, but it would be by a very extraordinary grace of 
Heaven. 4 New sessions of the conference took place, it is true, 
first at La Koquette, not far from the Porte Saint Antoine and 
the Bastile, and subsequently at La Yillette, on the road to Saint 
Denis; but the deputies, acting under instructions from Paris, 
were obstinate, and would not even consent to a three months' 

1 One of the royal letters is printed in the Memoires de la Ligue, v. 
u Copie de Lettre dn Roy a l'Evesque de Chartres." The date is Mantes, 
18, 1593. Also, in Lettres missives, iii. 771. 

2 These letters were also of a stereotype form. See Lettres missives, iii. 77:1 

3 In the Memoires de la Ligue, v. 381-385. 

4 De Thou, viii. 267. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 331 

truce. The nobles and the people were, as usual, more moder- 
ate than the clergy, who received their orders from the legate. 
The suffering populace, in their indignation at the conduct of 
the foreign prelate, were ready for a riot. They trooped to the 
gates of the city, once and again, when the deputies set out for 
Suresnes, uttering loud cries of " Peace ! Peace ! Blessed be 
they that seek and procure it ! Cursed be those who do other- 
wise ; may all the devils take them ! " ' Parliament evidently 
sympathized with the discontent of the people. 2 Meanwhile 
Henry the Fourth took ample revenge for the refusal of the 
League to consent to an armistice, by besieging and capturing 
Dreux, the only place of importance which had continued to 
hold for the League in the vicinity of the capital." 3 

The deed was virtually done. After long delay, after an ap- 
pearance of hesitation which was probably more feigned than 
real, the son of Jeanne d'Albret had at length committed him- 
self fully. He would renounce the religion which he had im- 
bibed, as he had been fond of reiterating, with his mother's 
milk, this coming July. He would embrace the Romish mass, 
of which that mother had said that, sooner than attend it, 
had she her kingdom and her son in her hand, she would cast 
them both into the depth of the sea. 4 It was currently reported 
that he even made the cynical observation that Paris was cer- 
tainly worth a mass. 5 The story was perhaps apocryphal, but 
it expressed a sentiment which he felt, if he did not utter. 

It must not be supposed that the Huguenots had seen with 
unconcern or observed without remonstrance the progress of the 
drama whose catastrophe was now approaching. They would 

1 Lestoile, ii. 127. 2 De Thou, viii. 268-278. 

3 De Thou, viii. 287-291. 4 Rise of the Huguenots, ii. 10. 

5 The Recueil des choses memorables (2d edition, 1598), 761, 762, ascribes 
the expression, somewhat modified, to the royalists when urging Henry to em- 
brace Roman Catholicism. " Le sommaire de leurs sollicitations estoit . . . 
que tandis que le Roy adhereroit ouvertement a son acoustumee Religion, ceux 
du parti contraire (cent fois en plus grand nombre) suivroyent la maison de 
Guise et les autres chefs Ligueurs, qui par le moyen de l'Espagnol et du 
Pape scauroyent bien trouver le moyen de maintenir et augmenter l'embrase- 
ment par tous les coins et au milieu de son Royaume, lequel valoit bien une 
Messe ; et ne faloit le laisser perdre pour des ceremonies," etc. 


have been not only untrue to their own instincts, but false 

to their own history and to their proverbial boldness, had they 

suffered any motives of policy to silence their ear- 

The Hugue- J . . r J . 

nots remon- nest protest against a crime affecting, not so much the 
moral character of one man as the public conscience 
of Christendom. With Henry's promise to submit to instruc- 
tion they could not indeed be offended ; for the crafty monarch 
had quietly taken every advantage of his old companions in 
arms, and had turned their innocence and simplicity to good 
account. What objection could the Protestants consistently 
urge against the interview at Mantes, when Duplessis Mornay, 
of all their diplomatists and statesmen the most incorruptible 
and sincere, had taken pains to make of the king's instruction a 
cardinal article in the terms discussed with Villemv 1 Thus 
had the Huguenot governor of Saumur earned the life-long re- 
gret that he had been made the unconscious, but none the leas 
efficient, instrument of furthering a plan which he loathed from 
his inmost soul. 

When, in the early spring, certain Protestant ministers sound- 
ed Henry respecting the current rumors of his apostasy, his 
Henry's as- majesty bade them give no credit to the story, and be 
surances. WG \\ assure d that he would never change his religion ; 
for he had always acted intelligently and conscientiously.' And 
when they came again, a month or two later, with their more 
distinct remonstrances, he denied, but with less positiveness, 
that he intended to become a Roman Catholic. " You know," 
said he, "what I have always told you." Then he added: 
"Yet, were I to do it, you have no reason to be alarmed thereat, 
nor to take it amiss. On the contrary, I am entering the house, 
not to live in it, but to cleanse it. I promise you, it is - 
And as for yourselves, I shall not give you any worse treatment 

1 The remark is that of Benoist, Histoire de l'Edit de Nantes, i. 00, to 
which Dr. Stahelin has called attention: " Les Catholiques gagnerent nean- 
moins cecy a ces conferences qu'ils delivrerent le Roy de la crainte doffenser 
les Reformez, en prenant des mesnres pour se faire instrnire, puis que celuy 
de tous les Reformez, qui etoit le moins suspect en matiere de Religion, vou- 
loit bien faire de cette instruction un article du Traittc de paix.*' 

2 " Par science et par conscience." Lestoile, ii. 127. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 333 

than I have always given you, up to the present day. Pray 
God for me, and I shall love you." ' The last sentence need 
occasion no surprise. Henry of Navarre was at all times prodi- 
gal of pious references to the Divine power and to his depend- 
ence upon heavenly aid. He had even the assurance to inform 
his correspondents that he hoped, during the approaching in- 
struction, that God would grant him the assistance of His Holy 
Spirit in the plan he had adopted, whose sole object was to 
choose and follow the true way of salvation. 2 We naturally ask 
ourselves whether Henry was thinking of these utterances 
when, as will be seen later, upon a remarkable occasion, during 
his own severe illness, he anxiously pressed Agrippa d'Aubigne 
for an answer to the inquiry, whether he thought that his king- 
had committed the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost. 3 

Nor was it only by delegations that the Huguenot ministers 
endeavored to deter the king. One of their number, preaching 
before him at Mantes, boldly warned him from the pulpit of 
the judgments of the Almighty, should he apostatize. When 
they heard of it, Cardinal Bourbon and Monsieur d'O were full 
of indignation, and, going to his majesty, begged him to pun- 
ish the minister's insolence. But Henry, bowing his head, for 
all answer only said: u What would you have me do? He 
has freely told me my faults." 4 

Those of the leading Huguenot ministers who were away 
from court used their pens, and some of the most eloquent let- 

1 Lestoile, ii. 138. 

2 ' ' Esperant que Dieu assistera de sa grace par son Sainct-Esprit ceste 
mienne resolution selon le sainct zele que j'y apporte ; qui ne tend qu'a em- 
brasser et suivre la vraye voie de mon salut." Henry IV. to the Grand Duke 
of Tuscany, May 30, 1593, Lettres missives, iii. 783. Henry, about this time, 
indulged in many expressions of the kind. President Groulart reports him as 
stating to the magistrates and officers whom he assembled, on the 24th of July, 
the day before the abjuration, that he had been brought up in a contrary be- 
lief to theirs, but that "by the grace of the Holy Ghost," he began to " relish " 
the arguments for the Roman Catholic religion which had been alleged to him. 
Memoires de Claude Groulart (Edition Michaud et Poujoulat), 560. 

3 Memoires d'Agrippa d'Aubigne (Edition Pantheon), 503. 

4 " Que voules-vous ? II m'a ditmes verites." Lestoile, ii. 133. The preach- 
er is said by Lestoile to have been D' Amours. 


ters that have come down to us from the end of the sixteenth 
century were their unavailing pleas with Henry to vindicate his 
better nature and do justice to his convictions of right and 
truth. From Geneva came a vigorous epistle from the aged 
Letters of reformer, Theodore Beza, opportunely brought to 
derEsplne, light 111 our own days to relieve his memory from the 
and others, strange misapprehension or calumny that he acqui- 
esced in the advisability of Henry's abjuration. 1 From other 
quarters came the scarcely less noteworthy appeals of Jean de 
l'Espine, and another whose name, could it be ascertained, would 
well deserve to be held in lasting remembrance. 2 From St. 
Jean d'Angely came a masterpiece of eloquent and affectionate 
remonstrance, to which I have had frequent occasion to refer, 
and which will ever place Gabriel d' Amours among the most 
pleasing personages of an age not deficient in well-defined 
characters. He it was who laid bare the king's weakness, and 
warned him of the insidious influence of that fair Gabrielle 
d'Estrees, now Duchess of Beaufort, who, seeing that the only 
hope of securing her royal lover's divorce from Margaret of 
Yalois and his marriage to herself lay in the favor of the j 
was employing every seductive art to persuade Henry to enter 
the Church of Borne. 3 

1 The discovery of the letter written by Theodore Beza to Henry TV. , in 
June, 1593, among the treasures of the Library of Geneva, is one of the most 
interesting of the many discoveries of M. Jules Bonnet. The document was 
printed for the first time in the Bulletin de la Societe de 1 histoire du Pi 
tantisme francais, i. 41-46. Previously to this time, even so excellent and con- 
scientious a historian as Schlosser, in his life of Beza Heidelberg, 1809) p. 
272, had represented the reformer as so free from blind fanaticism that, in- 
stead of lamenting the king's abjuration, he regarded it only as a nee 
step to heal the wounds of lacerated France. 

2 M. Charles Bead has done good service to the cause of history by collect- 
ing and publishing, in the first volume of the Bulletin of the French P 
taut Historical Society, not less than four important letters, three of them 
till then inedited, directly bearing upon the abjuration. Besides Beza's letter 
above referred to, these comprise the " Discours an Boy par un sien sujet et 
serviteur" (i. 105-112, 155-158), the letter of Jean de l'Espine (i. 449--4V, . 
and that of Gabriel d' Amours (i. 280-285). 

3 "La belle Gabrielle d'Estree, Maitresse du Boy, prenoit part a ce.< intrigues. 
Elle ne hai'ssoit pas les Reformez, qu'elle estimoit fidelles et gens de bien ; et 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 335 

"I have ever had this honor from God," he wrote, " and this 

good fortune, to see you always prosper ; and if you listened to 

Gabriel d' Amours, your minister, as you listen to 

Appeal of 

Gabriel Gabrielle your mistress, I should still see you a £ener- 

d'Amours. 1 • ' i • i • i tt 

ous king and triumphant over your enemies. How 
did you act lately, when I was near your majesty at Saint Denis 
and Chartres ? Did I not remind you, in a sermon at Saint Denis, 
what Delilah did to Samson, who rendered him miserable and 
contemptible in the eyes of the Philistines? If you should 
act as did David after the prophet Nathan's remonstrance — as 
your majesty knows that God has graciously suffered me to have 
the boldness several times to address remonstrances to you 
which you have taken in very good part, as coming from your 
very humble and faithful subject and a pastor whom you love 
— I am sure that God will show you grace and mercy. But you 
keep on your way, as we are told by all who come to us from 
court. When God wrought such miracles through you, you 
did not live thus. We are told in these regions that you are 
about to imitate Solomon, who turned aside to idolatry ; women 
were the cause of it. It is said that you have promised to go 
to mass, which I in no wise credit, and I shall ever fight in single 
combat to maintain the contrary. What ! Can it be that the 
greatest captain in the world has become so cowardly as to go 
to mass for fear of men ? Where would be that great magna- 
nimity, that faith so rare, so great, which I so often beheld in 
you when, according to men, you saw nothing but desperate 
straits ? What have you accomplished in all your life with 
a majority? On the contrary, what have you not achieved 

meme elle en avoit plusieurs ail nombre de ses domestiques. Mais les Sei- 
gneurs de la Religion n'avoient pas beaucoup de complaisance pour elle : et 
jamais ils neussent favorise ses ambitieux desseins. Au contraire, on luy 
faisoit esperer que si le Roy changeoit de Religion, elle auroit plus de lieu de 
pretendre al'epouser ; parce qu'il pourroit faire casser par le Pape son mariage 
avec Marguerite de Valois, et se mettre en liberte d'en contracter un autre." 
Benoist, Histoire de l'edit de Nantes, i. 93. 

1 The play upon the words in the original cannot be imitated in the transla- 
tion : "Si vous escoutiez Gabriel Damours v tre [votre] ministre, comme vous. 
escoutes Gabriels v tre [votre] amoureuse, je vous verroy tousjours Roy gene- 
reux et triomphant de vos ennemis." 


in conjunction with the small number of the true Israelites I 

Do you wish me to predict your misfortune — me, respecting 
whom you have many times said before your nobles that I 
always predicted you good fortune ? I cannot do it. I will 
believe good until I shall have seen evil ; sufficient unto the 
day the evil thereof, says Jesus Christ. You wish to be in- 
structed by the bishops of the Romish Church, we are told. 
O, you are not the king that needs to be instructed ! You are 
a greater theologian than am I, who am your minister. You 
have no lack of science (knowledge) ; but you have a little lack 
of conscience." 1 

Such remonstrances came from one who maintained that he 
would indeed ever pray to God in behalf of his misguided 
king,' and that, should that king forget himself so far as to at- 
tend mass, he would go and serve him in person, if not as his 
minister, yet as a soldier, having always been near him upon the 
battle-field when he still had the sword unsheathed and bloody. 

True it is that, in the midst of the universal cry of honest 

protest that arose from his old fellows in arms, as well as from 

his spiritual advisers, against Henry's projected dis- 

The " minis- . _ r , . . . , J r r J . . , . 

trescourti- loyalty to his convictions, there were a tew insidious 
voices of nominal Protestants speaking to him in the 
secrecy of his bedchamber, and counselling or justifying the 
step he was about to take. A knot of two or three minis- 
ters of the religion which he still professed, whether sincerely 
holding the latitudinarian views they expressed, or actuated, as 
was commonly reported, and as seems not improbable, by 
mercenary motives, whispered in his ear a theory of the rela- 
tions of Roman Catholicism and the Reformation little calcu- 
lated to strengthen the king's moral courage and resolution. 

1 " Vous n'aves faulte de science, mais vous avez ung peu faulte de con- 

2 " Priez Dieu. Nous prierons incessament pour vous. Quand je you? re- 
monstre, vous me respondes cela ordinairement, Que vous prieres de vostiv 
coste et me commandes de prier Dieu pour vous. Je ne combas pas seulement 
par prieres envers Dieu pour vous, mais contre tous ceux qui parlent mal de 

3 Gabriel d' Amours to Henry IV., June 20, 1593, ubi supra. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 337 

The Romish body they conceded to be a church, and, indeed, 
not only a church, but the most ancient church, and conse- 
quently the only church that could lay claim to the name 
without further necessity of qualification. In some sense, 
and in spite of certain errors, it was the Church of Christ. A 
person might, therefore, certainly be saved within it. The 
fathers of the Reformation had erred in creating a schism, in- 
stead of correcting the existing faults. 1 The doctrine was a 
pleasing one to Henry, as it has always proved, in times of 
pressure and persecution, to a considerable number of men and 
women of somewhat shallow convictions. But whether the ar- 
guments of the recreant Huguenot ministers had any weight 
with Henry or not, certain it is that those who conversed with 
him, about this time, found him imbued with the very comfort- 
able opinion, that the differences between the two religions were 
great only in consequence of the passionate representation of 
rival preachers. 2 

Among his Protestant courtiers, the future Duke of Sully 

distinguished himself by the encouragement he gave to his 

master's abjuration. A Huguenot by birth, but a soldier, not a 

theologian, much less a religious man in his feelings 

Rosny encour- ,.., , iiii -i • • 

ages Henry and principles, the great noble had no inclination 
himself to abandon the profession of a faith uniting 
him to the party with which all his interests were identified. 
But he had no hesitation in declaring that in the king's conver- 
sion to Roman Catholicism lay the quickest, if not, indeed, the 
only, road to undisputed possession of the throne, and he has 
manifested no shame in recording on the pages of his Memoires 
the part he took in the disgraceful proceeding. 3 Henry sum- 

1 Agrippa d' Aubigne, iii. (book 3, ch. 22) 290. The Memoires de Sully, chap. 
40, have something to say of " les connivences pleines d'artifice de quelques 
ministres et Huguenots du cabinet, qui vouloient profiter du temps a quelque 
prix, et par quelque voye que ce put etre." 

2 "Est certain aussy qu'il [Duplessis] le trouva imbeu d'une opinion, qui luy 
sembloit alleger sa faulte ; que le differend des relligions n'estoit grant que par 
l'animosite des prescheurs, et qu'ung jour, par son auctorite, il le pouvoit com- 
poser." Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste sur la vie de Duplessis Mornay, son 
Mari, i. 261. 3 (Economies royales, c. 38 (Ed. of 1G63, i. 351-358). 

Vol. II.— 22 


moned him to his bedside one morning before he had risen, with 
the view of leading Sully to advise him to do the very thing he 
was already determined to do. Nor did the worldly-wise states- 
man decline to fall in with the plan. When Henry, in well-feigned 
perplexity, spread before him the difficulties and the perils of 
his situation — the growing restlessness of the royalists of his 
suite, the ingratitude of those whom he had imagined that he 
had bound to his cause by favors conferred, and the probable 
dangers to his state, if not to his life, from conspiracies already 
hatched against him — Rosny, seated by his command on the 
edge of his couch, calmly told him that he saw but two methods 
by which safety might be secured. The one was to accede to 
the desires of those of whom he stood in suspicion. The other 
w r as to arrest the richest and most powerful of these enemies, 
place them in some spot where they could do him no harm, and 
employ their abundant resources in the prosecution of the war. 
With the presentation of the alternative, Rosny modestly pro- 
posed to stop ; "for," said he, " to counsel you to go to mass ie 
a thing which, it seems to me, you ought not to expect from me, 
seeing I belong to 'the religion.' Yet I will tell you frankly 
that this is the most prompt and easy means of thwarting all 
these intrigues and making all the shrewdest projects of your 
enemies end in smoke." When his majesty, however, pressed 
him to state frankly what he would do were he in his place, the 
courtier ceased to measure his words with well-affected hesita- 
tion. Not more distinctly did Vice depict to the youthful Her- 
cules at the cross-roads the sweets he might expect upon the 
path to which she allured him, in contrast wirli the hardships 
attending the path which Virtue was about to urge him to enter. 
than did Maximilien de Bethune portray the ease and comfort 
upon which Henry, when once converted, might count, as opposed 
to the misery to which he might regard himself condemned for 
the remainder of his days, should he prefer principle to interest, 
a clear conscience to luxurious repose. If, of the only two prac- 
ticable courses Henry should choose the resort to force, his wily 
adviser saw nothing before him but difficulties, fatigue, pain. 
annoyance, perils, and labors. He would be continually in the 
saddle, encased in his corselet, with his helmet on his head, with 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 339 

his pistol in his hand, with his sword at his side. What was 
more, he would have to bid adien to rest, pleasures, pastimes, 
love, mistresses, games, dogs, birds, and plans for building ; for 
he could never extricate himself from his troubles but by 
numerous captures of cities, by multiplied combats, signal vic- 
tories, and a great effusion of blood. "Instead of which," said 
he, "by the other road, which is that you accommodate your- 
self, touching religion, to the wishes of the greater number of 
your subjects, you will not encounter so many vexations, pains, 
and difficulties in this world. As to the other world," he added 
with a laugh, " I do not answer for that. But then it is your 
majesty's function to come to a final determination by yourself, 
without deriving it from another, and least of all from me, 
knowing that I am a Protestant, and that you keep me near 
you not as a theologian or an ecclesiastical counsellor, but as a 
man for action and a state counsellor." 

If Kosny was no professed theologian, he took good care to 
give a very clear expression to his views on the question of the 
day, and found his royal listener in nowise inclined to cavil 
at them. The duke held it to be an undoubted truth, that, what- 
ever religion men may externally profess, they cannot fail to be 
saved if they die in the observance of the Decalogue, and the be- 
lief in the Apostles' Creed, if they love God with all their heart, 
have charity toward their neighbor, hope in the mercy of God, 
and look for salvation through the meritorious death and right- 
eousness of Jesus Christ. Nay, applying his opinion to the 
case in hand, he declared his own conviction that, should Henry 
put this theory into practice, he would attain eternal blessed- 
ness, whatever outward profession he might make of the Roman 
Catholic Church, while, by his equitable treatment of the Prot- 
estants, he would secure their love and loyal obedience. The 
conclusion of the whole matter was, that Sully deemed it im- 
possible for Henry ever to reign peaceably so long as he should 
openly adhere to a religion to which the majority of his subjects, 
both great and small, had so strong an aversion ; and that, with- 
out general tranquillity, it was idle to expect the prosperity of 
France, much less the realization of the king's magnificent de- 
sign of the establishment of a universal Christian republic, 



composed of all the kings and potentates of Europe professing 
the name of Christ. 

Henry dismissed Rosny with the promise that he would 
think over what he had heard, and with the quiet suggestion 
that Rosny, on his side, should communicate his hopes to as 
many of his intimate friends as he knew to be likely to favor 
them. 1 

Before two other distinguished Huguenots Henry the Fourth 
laid his perplexities, enlarging upon the alleged perils that 
environed him, and hinting even at plots to seize his person 
at Mantes and betray him to the Duke of Mayenne. But 
from these he obtained no such counsel as Rosny had given. 
Agnppa Agrippa d'Aubigne, using the familiarity bred of long 
d'AubignS. association in arms, endeavored to prove to the king, 
in a private interview, that the condition of the realm was in no- 
wise so critical as his majesty's distempered imagination fancied 
it. The old soldier was one of those that were very sceptical re- 
specting the influence of the much-vaunted " third party " (tiers 
parti), believing in it no more than they did in the " third place " 
— purgatory — by means of whose terrors the Romish Church 
drove a profitable traffic. 2 He tried to remove Henry's appre- 
hension of the election of a new king by the League, showing 
him that the choice of the Infanta's husband by the Paris states 
general would be the signal for all the disappointed candidates 
to come over to the side of the legitimate monarch and to 
give him their undivided support. The disgust of many of the 
staunch advocates of the League and the discontent, verging 
upon revolt, of the Parisian populace, were among the many 
elements in his favor. Nor did D'Aubigne fail to set before 
the wavering prince the blessings he had received at God's 
hands, and the curses sure to follow ingratitude; assuring him 
that better were it to reign over a mere corner of France while 

1 Sully, ubi supra, chap. 38, i. pp. 354-358. 

2 " Le roi n'avoit faute de Refformez qui se moquoient de ce tiers parti, 
lequel ils croioient aussi peu que le troisiesme lieu, qui est le Purgatoire, et 
en parloient au roi avec grand mespris." Histoire universelle, iii. 290 (book 
3, c. 22). 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 341 

serving the Almighty, than to obtain a precarious rule over the 
whole country, trampled upon by the victorious pope, and ex- 
posed to the insolence of his own subjects who had compelled 
him by threats to change his religion. 1 

Although the eyes of Duplessis Morn ay had been slow to open 
to the true state of the case, he now took in clearly its opportu- 
nities and its perils. A month before, he had written the melan- 
choly and significant words: " Our king is still himself, in the 
Dupiessis matter of religion ; himself, on the other hand, as re- 
spects his pleasures. The one circumstance consoles 
me, when I see that he is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ ; 
the other afflicts me when I see that he brings shame upon the 
profession of that gospel." 2 And now, more in sadness than with 
any real hope of preventing a foregone conclusion, he addressed 
to Henry a letter of remonstrance. " Sire," he said, " I have 
learned something of what took place on the fifteenth at Mantes, 
and I am only waiting the arrival of M. de Yicose to go to your 
majesty, thinking that I may be able to be of some service to 
you there. I am confident, Sire, in spite of whatever may be 
said, that your majesty cannot forget the favors God has show- 
ered on you ; and I have a still stronger confidence that God, 
who was minded of you before you were born, will not forget 
you. If you hold this conference with the intention that the 
Truth shall be made known, you will wish her to be defended, 
and you will accordingly summon persons competent to do this. 
If you do not summon them, Sire, it will be asserted that you 
are only seeking an observance of forms, being already resolved 
to make a surrender. This is not credible in the case of the 
greatest prince of our times, still less of one who has so often 
experienced the intervention of the arm of God in his be- 
half. Think, Sire, that all those who have heretofore been 
wont to be in arms for you against your enemies, are to-day 
marshalled in the host before God, praying Him to strengthen 

1 Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 292 (book 3, c. 22). 

2 "L'un me console quand je vois qu'il n'est poinct honteux de PEvangile 
du Christ ; l'aultre m'afflige quand ;je vois qu'il faict honte a la profession de 
cest Evangile." Duplessis to La Fontaine, April 20, 1593, Memoires, v. 400. 


you, and to fulfil in you the saying, that His gifts and calling 
are without repentance. For myself, I maintain the point with 
assurance against all comers ; and I very humbly entreat the 
Almighty, Sire, that He may impart His Spirit to you accord- 
ing to the measure of your temptations, and may make you 
victorious, to His own glory, to your salvation, and to the in- 
struction of your people." ' 

That Henry was unmoved by these and other appeals from the 
ministers of religion whom he venerated, and from the lords and 
gentlemen with whom he had made common cause daring bo 
The king's many years, there is no reason to suppose. On the 
attitude. contrary, there are many things which indicate that 
the final triumph of expediency over moral sentiment was not 
effected without a painful conflict, a struggle in which the bet- 
ter nature at times asserted itself. Nor is it doubtful that to 
the king there seemed no other way out of his present perplex- 
ities than that of sacrificing his own religious belief to the c 
of the overwhelming majority of his people. There were 
many in his own times, as there have been many since 
then, even to our day, who regarded the election of a king 
by the pretended states general of the League as a calamity in- 
volving the inevitable ruin of the State. The pretender, recog- 
nized by the pope, supported by the great majority of the French 
people, assisted by a foreign king reputed to have greater re- 
sources of men and money than any other contemporary prince, 
a king ready to expend the wealth of the Indies in the accom- 
plishment of his designs, would gather to him even those Roman 
Catholics who, in hope of their master's ultimate conversion, 
had thus far remained loyal. There seemed to be force even 
in a brutal statement of the case made by the blunt and profane 
Monsieur d'O, which the king could find no weapons to parry. 1 
It may even have appeared to Henry that, in a sense, when con- 
senting; to hear the Romish mass, he was consulting the safetv 
of his fellow Protestants. For would not the ruin of his own 

1 Duplessis Mornay to Henry IV., Saumur, May 25, 1593. Memoires, v. 496, 

' See Monsieur d'O's address in Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 291, 292. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 343 

prospects, involving, as it seemed probable, the complete subjec- 
tion of France to Spain, and the introduction of the intolerant 
and persecuting policy which had reigned supreme in Spain and 
the Spanish Netherlands, with all the horrors of the Inquisition, 
bring about the utter destruction of French Protestantism ? He 
did not, therefore, probably stand in his own eyes altogether as 
a hypocrite, when he went so far as to assure the Protestants 
whom he was forsaking, that he was sacrificing himself in their 
behalf, and that his Huguenot faith would always continue to be 
the real religion of his heart and soul. 1 None the less must he 
who would read aright the history of the Abjuration regard 
these sentiments only as the flimsy pretexts with which, while 
attempting to impose upon others, he may at times have im- 
posed upon himself. A stranger to deep religious convictions, 
he had exhibited in his life no evidence that his actions were, or 
that he desired them to be, moulded after the pattern of a lofty 
morality. The profession of a few doctrines held by all Christ- 
endom, the intellectual acceptance of the distinctive tenets of the 
Reformed Church, the scoffing rejection of as many dogmas of 
the Romish Church— the papal supremacy, transubstantiation, 
purgatory, and the like — this constituted, apparently, the meagre 
fund of his religion. An attendance, more or less patient, upon 
the Huguenot " preche," a listening, more or less deferential, to 
the exhortation or reproof of his Huguenot chaplains, a few 
cheap phrases of acknowledgment of Divine aid vouchsafed in 
his deliverances on the battle-field or elsewhere, were the scanty 
evidence of his piety. But his daily conduct was little affected 
either by his theological opinions or by his devotions; and for a 
score of years the epochs of his life had been as distinctly marked 
by the succession of his mistresses, as by the striking political 
events of the period. If there was any change, as time elapsed, 

1 ' ' Lors commenca le roi . . . a descouvrir par ses emissaires avec les Ref- 
formez, leur faire pitie jusques a ces termes : 'Mes amis, priez Dieu pour 
inoi ; s'il faut que je me perde pour vous, au moins vous ferai-je ce bien, que 
je ne souffrirai aucune forme destruction, pour ne faire point de plaie a la 
Religion, qui sera toute ma vie celle de mon ame et de mon coeur ; et ainsi je 
ferai voir a tout le monde que je n'ai este persuade par autre theologie que la 
necessity de PEstat.' " Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 293, 294. 


it was a change for the worse. The story of Henry's amours 
was varied by accounts of the distress of his cast-off favorites, 
and of his ingratitude. Only a few months before the Abjura- 
tion, one such unfortunate had painfully reached Saint Denis 
and the royal court only to end her miserable existence. 1 

In the case of a man whose life was so irregular, whose conduct 
was evidently so little influenced by any motives derived from 
the sanctions of religion — however gay and cheery he may have 
been, however brave and patient, however well qualified to dis- 
charge the functions of a prince struggling to rescue his own 
possessions and defend the lives and the rights of conscience of 
his followers, however kingly in all his bearing — in such a case, it 
would seem almost an absurdity to speak of conversion from one 
religion to another. The change involved no renunciation of 
old principles, no adoption of new ones. It was little more than 
the parting from associates of long standing, the severing of ex- 
ternal ties such as even the most thoughtless cannot altogether 
regard as indifferent. And, with all his faults, Henry was not 
thoughtless or inconsiderate. He had carefully weighed the tem- 
poral consequences of the step he was about to take, balancing 
the possible dangers of a Huguenot combination and the institu- 
tion of a new protectorate, against the more real and immediate 
perils likely to follow from a further delay in abjuring the Prot- 
estant faith. If his decision was quickly made, and so suddenly 
announced to the world as to wear the appearance of precipi- 
tancy, it was none the less the deliberate result of a long period 
of calm and quiet observation of the necessary drift of political 
events. Certain it is that the fear lest the states of the League 
might be on the eve of electing a rival king — a fear which the 
spirit exhibited by the Archbishop of Lyons and his associates in 
the opening sessions of the Conference of Suresnes transformed 
from a remote apprehension into a conviction of impending dis- 

1 It is Lestoile, in his journal, under date of the end of 1592 (ii. 107^. 
that records the death of Madame Esther, a discarded mistress of Henry IV. at 
La Rochelle, who, when her child had died, came to Saint Denis in the vain 
hope of touching the king's pity. He refused even to see her. She scarcely 
obtained a " Huguenot" burial. 

15113. THE ABJURATION. 345 

aster — led him to carry out his purpose, long since formed, with 
as much rapidity as ever he had executed a manoeuvre at a criti- 
cal moment on the fields of Coutras or Ivry. But if he seemed 
surprised or hurried by the course of events, as his old friends 
charitably supposed him to be, 1 the haste was rather apparent 
than actual. Read in the light of the actual Abjuration, the 
repeated professions so ostentatiously made by Henry at inter- 
vals, both before and since his accession to the throne of France, 
of his readiness to be instructed, and his reiterations of the state- 
ment that he was not obstinate, point but too distinctly to a 
matured plan of which only the time of the fulfilment was an- 

Meanwhile the King was anxious lest, in conciliating his former 
enemies, he might alienate his former friends to such a degree 
as to compel them to plan measures of defence, possibly even 
to elect a protector of their churches, in place of him who was 
deserting them. For this reason he listened to the suggestion 
of the Duke of Bouillon, and authorized the Boman Catholic 
nobles and gentlemen of his council to publish a formal state- 
ment that, pending the arrival of the time for the king's " in- 
struction," no measures should be adopted to the prejudice of 
the rights granted to the Protestants by the edicts of Henry 
the Third, or of the good union and friendship existing between 
the loyal Boman Catholics and the Huguenots. 2 It was doubt- 

1 " Tellement que le roy, se trouvant surpris et comme opprime de ce soub- 
dain et inopine changement, voyant les visaiges et les cceurs des siens alienez 
de luy, adverty a toute heure des gouverneurs et des places, on que Ton pra- 
ticquoit, ou qui se divertissoient de luy, se rezoleut, tant pour eviter ces re- 
muemens, que pour se rendre la vole plus facile a son establissement, de s'ac- 
commoder, comme il feit quelques jours apres, a l'Eglize romaine." Memoires 
de Charlotte Arbaleste sur la vie de Duplessis Mornay, son Mari, i. 256. — 
Yet even Madame Duplessis Mornay admits that it seemed to many, "par la 
prompte conclusion qu'il en preit, qu'il ne falloit qu'une preignante occa- 
sion pour l'y jetter, et que piec^a elle estoit deliberee." 

s The " Declaration of Mantes," dated May 16, 1593, was signed by Fran- 
cois d'Orleans, Count of St. Pol, Chancellor Hurault, Meru, Bellegarde, D'O, 
and others. See the text in Memoires de Duplessis Mornay, v. 416, 417. Com- 
pare Madame Duplessis's remarks, Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, i. 256, 
and De Thou, viii. 259. 


less with the same object in view that his majesty, about this 

time, sent again and again the most pressing letters to Du- 

plessis Mornay, begging, almost commanding him, to 

treats du- intrust to safe hands the City of Sauraur, of which 

plessis Mor- .. . . , . , 

nay to come he was the vigilant governor, and come to court, 
if only for a few days. lie had, he said, important 
matters concerning religion about which he needed his ad- 
vice. Yet before the Abjuration, and for some weeks after, 
Duplessis declined to come. Had the king been wavering and 
in need of moral or religious support, nothing would have de- 
tained him an instant. But Henry had evidently made up his 
mind fully to the consummation of his disloyal act, and the 
sturdy Huguenot refused to become a witness, and, in some 
sense, an abettor of the disgraceful proceeding. Nothing, in- 
deed, more clearly demonstrates the sincere respect entertained 
for Duplessis Mornay by the king, even at this moment of 
meditated treachery to his convictions, than do his reiterated 
messages. Henry even appealed to him as a soldier, and, when 
a battle seemed imminent before Dreux, summoned him to take 
horse on receipt of his letter, and come diligently with his 
company and with all the friends he could muster, lest he 
should be among the last. " Remember," said he, " that at the 
battle of Ivry you only arrived just in time. What annoyance 
would you have experienced if, when still three or four leagues 
distant, you had had tidings of the battle gained without you. 
Besides, I have need of you and of your counsel on some mat- 
ters which present themselves. Therefore, without more 
cuses or delay, come and use diligence." Six weeks later he 
wrote: "Monsieur Duplessis, I have written you so often to 
come, and you have not done it. I will write you but this once, 
to see if I shall be obeyed. Come, therefore, immediately after 
having provided for the safety of your post during your ab- 
sence. Come ! come ! come ! You will not have to stay here 
long." 2 In two days he again wrote with his own hand: " I 

1 Henry IV. to Duplessis Mornay, Dreux, June 25, 1593, Memoires, v. 465, 

3 The same to the same, St. Denis, August 5, 1593, ibid., v. 505. 

15 93. THE ABJURATION. 347 

find it very strange that a number of persons who have seen 
you have reported to me that you complained of me, and I find 
this more strange in you than in any one else ; for, besides the 
fact that I have never given you any occasion, and have loved 
you more than any other gentleman of my kingdom, I have al- 
ways talked with you so freely, that, if you had any ground of 
complaint, you ought to let me know, or come to tell me your- 
self, without mentioning it to anybody else. I have many 
times written to you to come to me, but in vain. I see what is 
the reason. You love the general interests [of the Protestants] 
more than you love me. Still I shall always be both your good 
master and your king. Give me this satisfaction of seeing you, 
come by post or otherwise, and do not seek further excuses." ' 
When a week had passed, he again wrote to the same effect; 2 
and when a fortnight more had elapsed without Duplessis Mor- 
nay's arrival, he penned another autograph missive. " Monsieur 
Duplessis, I am wearied with constantly writing to you one and 
the same thing. I desire infinitely to see you, even before the 
coming of the deputies, who are to come with Yicose, and for 
whom I have sent by him. Come ! I have so much need of 
your presence that I cannot do without it, for reasons which I 
cannot state in writing. Come, yet again ! Your tarrying with 
me will be but a few days. I shall be glad should you have 
taken steps to satisfy the Swiss ; but let not that so tie you down 
there as to be longer in coming." And the postscript again was : 
" Come ! come ! come ! if you love me." 3 

If, however, Duplessis was resolute in declining the king's 

invitations, there was one point upon which he insisted much 

in his letters to Henry, and which he secured. The 

The Prot- . . J ' 

estants not to _r rotestant ministers were not to be asked to be pres- 
the "instruc- ent at an unequal combat. Henry yielded to the 
entreaties of Duplessis Mornay that, if his majesty 
was resolved to change his religion, and was only observing an 
empty form in such a conference as was proposed between the 

1 Same to same, Monceaux, August 7, 1593, ibid., v. 505, 506. 

2 Same to same, St. Denis, August 15, 1593, ibid., v. 514. 

3 Same to same, Melun, August 28, 1593, ibid., v. 527, 528. 


ministers of the two faiths, lie should not add the load of this 
fresh crime to the burden his conscience already bore. For, if 
he should surrender himself to idolatry, after such a combat in 
which truth could not be overcome, the king would, said Du- 
plessis Mornay, become the author of a scandal to the entire 
Christian Church, and give the impression that he had yielded 
or succumbed inasmuch as he had seen the religion which he 
professed fairly refuted. 1 None the less did the Huguenot ex- 
press his own determination never to despair of his master's 
recovery so long as a breath or pulse continued ; 2 and, writing 
to M. de Lomenie, not many days after the king's conversion, 
he begged him to say to Henry : " If ever the desire shall seize 
his majesty to escape from the spiritual and temporal thraldom 
in which he now is, I cannot indeed grow in fidelity to his ser- 
vice, but certainly I shall redouble my courage, for the just pain 
I feel. They do not give him the peace of state, and they take 
away his peace of conscience. They do not reconcile the rebels, 
and they chill his most faithful servants. The} 7 do not restore to 
him his kingdom (for it is God and not the devil that can give 
it), and, so far as in them lies, they make him renounce the 
kingdom of heaven. I groan within me to see him thus served, 
thus cheated, thus betrayed, and I see no man of worth, even 
among the Catholics in these parts, that does not say the same 
thing." 3 

The single-minded and pious Huguenot had not lost all 
hope that his master might yet be extricated from the false 
Catharine of position which he had voluntarily assumed. And it 
Bourbon. wag nQ j. otherwise with good Catharine of Bourbon, 
a princess as like in steadfastness of character to her mother, 
Jeanne d'Albret, and her grandmother, Margaret of Angou- 
leme, as was her brother in some less desirable traits to his 
male progenitors. Upon her the arguments used with Henry 
were thrown away. " I am very glad," she wrote to Duplessis 

1 Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, i. 258. 

2 " Si estime je de nostre debvoir, comme des medecins, de l'assister de ce 
que Dieu a mis en nous, tant que le pouls lui bat." Lettre de M. Duplessis a 
plusieurs ministres, Saumur, June 9, 1593, Memoires, v. 448. 

3 Duplessis Mornay to Lomenie, August 11, 1593, Memoires, v. 511. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 349 

Mornay, " that you have so good an opinion of my constancy, in 
which I intend so to persevere that neither you nor any of those 
that profess the same faith shall be disappointed. It is the sub- 
ject of my prayers to God ; and you may well believe that I 
employ in them the best hours of the day and the night. I 
doubt not that the change of which you hear has saddened you. 
As to myself, I am more annoyed than I can describe. But I 
hope that God, who until now has shown us so many evidences 
of His goodness, will not forsake us, and particularly will not 
forsake him who, for the welfare of his people, does not fear to 
abate something from his conscience, which I assure myself God 
will restore to him, when these confusions are ended, as sound 
and entire as ever it was." r 

Meanwhile the last scene in the disgraceful drama was at 
hand. The French prelates, convened to take part in the " in- 
struction " of the king, had decided, not without the passionate 
opposition of the Cardinal of Bourbon, that they were compe- 
tent to admit his majesty into the communion of the Roman 
Catholic Church, upon profession of his faith and repentance, 
without waiting for the pope's absolution. 2 Friday, the twenty- 
third of July, had been appointed by Henry as the 

Henry's "in- " ■*■ *■ J J 

stmction." day upon which, in his quarters at Saint Denis, he 

July 23, 1593. J K. , ^ n , . . , , . 

would listen to the arguments of his ghostly advisers. 
He had signified his desire that to four or five prelates, whom he 
named, might be committed the honorable task of solving his 
doubts — the Archbishop of Bourges, the Bishops of Nantes, 
Chartres, and Mans, and the Bishop-elect of Evreux. The last 
named was the ingenious and eloquent Du Perron ; the Bishop 
of Chartres was the moderate Nicholas de Thou. The Cardinal 
of Bourbon had sought to be included in the select company, 
but Henry would not have him. On that point he was firm, 
having no desire to have a spy of the League as one of his in- 
structors. And as he had little compunction in improving any 
occasion that offered for ridiculing the pretensions of his igno- 

1 Catharine de Navarre to Duplessis, July, 1593, Memoires de Duplessis 
Mornay, vi. 77. 

2 De Thou, viii. (bk. 107) 304-307. 


rant but ambitious cousin, he even took pains to inform him 
that, though his own acquaintance with theological subjects was 
but slight, yet, were the controversy to be decided by Bourbon 
and himself alone, he would have no trouble in securing the 
victory over so incompetent an opponent. 1 In truth, however, 
notwithstanding his disclaimer, Henry was no contemptible dis- 
putant on such subjects. He had not listened to so many Hu- 
guenot sermons without carrying away some of the strong 
doctrine upon which he had been fed. lie had not been an 
altogether uninterested auditor of those sturdy Huguenot min- 
isters, as fearless in debate as upon the battlefield, with whom 
he had long consorted. Gabriel d'Amours scarcely used hyper- 
bole when he rated him above himself in theological attain- 

So the prelates discovered, in the course of their five hours' 
interview with his majesty ; one of them admitting, the next 
day, that he had never seen a heretic better instructed in his 
error, or better able to defend it. 2 Yet, truth to say, Henry 
made no great effort. He had little desire either to parade his 
knowledge or to conceal the fact that he was yielding not to 
the acuteness of reasoning of his opponents, but to the fancied 
logic of events. We may even give him credit for so much 
of lingering loyalty to his Protestant convictions as that lie 
desired that the truths he had hitherto held should not seem, 
to any intelligent, man who could read below the surface, to 
have been worsted in a fair and honorable fight. The fencer 
could not resist the temptation to make so rapid and accu- 
rate a use of his practised rapier as to reveal the fact that he 
was, after all, making but a feint of defence, and to warn all 
comers not to press him overmuch. He was willing to submit 
to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church, but evidently 
that was all. For a positive statement of belief in doctrines 
which he deemed absurd, he plainly intimated he was not yet 
prepared. In some cases he parried a thrust with an apparently 
careless jest. When the prelates came to the matter of prayers 
for the dead, he exclaimed, with quiet irony : " Let us drop 

1 De Thou, viii. (bk. 107) 308. 2 Lestoile. ii. 160. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 351 

the ' Requiem.'' I am not yet dead, and, what is more, I have 
no inclination to die." He said that he accepted the doctrine 
of Purgatory, not as an article of faith, but as a belief of the 
Church whose son he was, and to please his instructors, know- 
ing it to be the very bread upon which the priests subsist. As 
the discussion went on, however, the tone of banter, in which 
he occasionally indulged, was dropped, and the pathos lurking 
beneath revealed itself. The cardinal doctrine of transubstan- 
tiation and the adoration of the wafer were reached. Here the 
delay was long. At last Henry yielded, but not without visible 
emotion. " You do not content me fully on this point," he 
said. " You do not satisfy me as I desired, and as I had prom- 
ised myself that I should be satisfied by your instruction. Here, 
then, I place my soul this day in your hands. I pray you, take 
good care ; for where you make me enter, thence I shall go out 
only through death. This I swear and protest." As he said 
it, tears came to his eyes. 1 Presently he became calmer. He 
thanked the prelates for their pains, he professed to have had 
many difficulties cleared away, and intimated his readiness to 
accept their conclusions. 2 But when, taking advantage of his 
favorable inclinations, the archbishop and his associates pre- 
sented to him a confession of faith in which he was to declare 
his belief in every particular dogma of the Roman Catholic 
Church, 3 the king warned them that they were in danger of go- 
ing farther and faring worse. The next day he sent again for 
them, and again remonstrated with them. Emphasizing the 
doctrine of Purgatory in particular, he declared that most of 

1 Lestoile, ubi supra. 

2 See the " Proces-verbal de la ceremonie de l'abjuration d'Henry IV," au- 
thenticated by the signature of the Dean of Beauvais, appointed secretary by 
the prelates. It is reprinted in Cimber et Anjou, Archives curieuses, xiii. 
343-351. " Discours des ceremonies observees a la conversion du tres-grand 
et tres-belliqueux Prince, Henry IV, Roy de France et de Navarre, a la re- 
ligion Catholique, Apostolique et Romaine." Reprinted in Memoires de la 
Ligue, v. 403. 

3 Sully, (Economies royales, c. 40 (i. 387). With regard to the form of this 
paper, see the judicious note of a writer who has made the most satisfactory 
study of the abjuration in all its bearings, E. Stahelin, Uebertritt Konig 
Heinrichs IV., 610-612. 


them did not themselves believe it. Indeed, he pointedly asked 
them : " Do you believe that there is such a place ? " The 
question received no answer, the prelates conveniently turning 
the conversation to another topic. 1 But the king's warning 
took effect. Henry was only required to express his assent to 
a shorter formulary of a more general character. It was quite 
enough. All the prelates really needed was his majesty's sub- 
mission to the Roman Catholic Church. Why be more partic- 
ular in exacting from the new-comer a profession of positive 
faith in every detail of doctrine, than in requiring such a defi- 
nite avowal from the Church's ancient followers ? Sincerity was 
the exception, not the rule, with the latter ; could the proselyte 
who virtually confessed that political circumstances had done 
more than all the arguments of the doctors in bringing him 
over, be expected to do better than the native-born Romanist I 
It was sufficient for Henry to accept in the simplest form the 
yoke which the loyal Roman Catholics of his suite wished to 
place upon his neck, to sign a short paragraph or two, to be 
seen at mass — meanwhile believing just as much or as little of 
the Romish system of faith as he pleased. No chaplain or 
confessor would be likely to trouble his august penitent in fu- 
ture years by attempting to pry very narrowly into the tenets 
actually held in the inner sanctuary of his breast. On such 
subjects, as well as in the domain of private morals, Henry 
would henceforth enjoy greater immunity from reproof than 
he had hitherto enjoyed when a D' Amours, among the min- 
isters, or a Duplessis Mornay, among laymen, had, with the 
characteristic Huguenot boldness, held up his sins before his 
eyes. The scantiness of the king's actual profession might, 
moreover, be compensated for by a more ample paper, meant 
for foreign circulation, and, if not actually signed by Henry, yet 
authenticated by his secretary, Lomenie, an adept in imitating 
his master's handwriting. 2 So early did Henry the Fourth be- 

1 Lestoile, ubi supra. 

2 " Man weiss, dass der Konig dem Papste bewilligte, was er den Biscli >fen 
versagte, und dass eben die zuruckgewiesene Schrift als das Glaubensbe- 
kenntniss Heinrichs IV. nach Rom abging — freilich nicht von ihm selber 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 353 

gin to imitate the example of his Very Christian and Very 
Catholic predecessors, and attempt to palm off upon a Curia, 
itself not altogether inexperienced in such devices, a fraudulent 
document which might satisfy the demands of the pontiff. 

Even to the last moment the king was uneasy, restless, ap- 
prehensive. " On Sunday I shall take the perilous leap ! " he 
wrote, late on Friday, to his mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrees. 1 On 
Saturday he took pains to gather about him all the prominent 
men of his court, and, in a speech of studied calmness, an- 
nounced his intentions and threw himself upon the support 
of his loyal subjects. 2 Again, that very day, he renewed his 
promise to some Protestant ministers to continue their friend, 
and again asked them to pray for him ; while, upon the very 
morning of the day that was to witness his public reception into 
the communion of the Roman Catholic Church, the Huguenot 
minister La Faye was admitted into the bedchamber before 
the king's rising, and had a private conference with his majesty, 
whose tears and frequent embraces betrayed the perturbed con- 
dition of his mind. 3 

It was eight or nine o'clock, on the morning of Sunday, the 
twenty-fifth of July, 1593, when Henry the Fourth left his 
Henry abjures lodgings at Saint Denis for the ancient abbey church 
sahit D a enX m " where his " reconciliation " was to be formally effect- 
juiy 25, 1593. e( j jj e wore a white-satin doublet and white-satin 
hose ; his hat and the cloak thrown over his shoulders were 
black. His escort was a crowd of nobles, officers of the crown, 
and simple gentlemen who had flocked to witness the welcome 
sight. Before him marched his Swiss, Scotch, and French 
guards, with beating drum, while twelve trumpeters announced 
his coming with loud and piercing notes. The streets were full 
of people frantic with joy and filling the air with shouts of 
" Long life to the King ! " The inhabitants of the little town of 

unterschrieben, sondern nach einer pia fraus nur durch seiner Sekretar de 
Lomenie, der die Handschrift der Konigs auf das Beste nachzuahmen ver- 
stand. 1 ' Stahelin, 611. 

1 " Ce sera dimanche que je ferai le sault perilleus." Lestoile, ii. 160. 

2 Memoires de Claude Groulart, 559, 560. 

3 Lestoile, ii. 161. 

Vol. II.— 23 


Saint Denis were outnumbered by the Parisians of every rank, 
who, in defiance of the express orders given by the heads of the 
League, had come out to see the event with their own eyes. 
Flowers strewn in the way, tapestry hung from the walls, gave 
the scene the appearance of a triumphal march. The abbey 
church itself was similarly decorated. Within the portal, seated 
in a chair of white damask, embroidered with the combined 
arms of France and Navarre, sat the Archbishop of Bonrges 
awaiting the king's arrival. Cardinal Bourbon, a number of 
other prelates, and all the monks of Saint Denis attended him 
— the cardinal with a cross and a copy of the Holy Gospel in his 
hands. " Who are you ? " asked the archbishop of the approach- 
ing monarch. " I am the king," was the reply. " What do 
you desire ? " again asked the archbishop. " I desire," said 
Henry, " to be received within the pale of the Roman, Catholic, 
and Apostolic Church." " Do you so wish ? " pursued the prel- 
ate. " Yes," answered the king, " I so wish and desire." And 
kneeling down at that instant he pronounced these words : M I 
protest and swear, in the presence of Almighty God, that I will 
live and die in the Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic religion, that 
I will protect and defend it against all persons, at the risk of my 
blood and life, renouncing all heresies contrary to the doctrines 
of the said Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church." The 
archbishop had advanced a step or two. The king handed 
him his profession of faith, kissed the ring upon the prelate's 
hand, and then and there received the church's absolution and 
blessing. This over, the royal penitent was helped to rise from 
his knees, and, not without difficulty for the press, proceeded to 
the grand altar of the church. Again kneeling before it, he re- 
peated a second time, upon the Holy Gospels, the oath he had 
taken at the portal. Amid deafening cries of " Vive le roi ! " 
incessantly ringing through the sacred edifice, he again rose, 
ascended the steps, crossed himself, and kissed the altar. Then 
came the swelling music of the grand " Te Deum landamus." 
Behind the altar, the king was heard in confession by the arch- 
bishop ; next he returned into the presence of the people to 
take part in the solemnities of the mass, beating upon his breast 
and prostrating himself at the elevation of the host. The ser- 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 355 

vice over and the royal largesse made, according to custom, 
within the church, Henry was escorted home with blare of 
trumpets and with salvos of artillery which were heard, to the 
consternation of the League, in Paris itself. 1 The people had 
seen the king at the mass. The only Huguenot who ever sat 
upon the throne of France had denied his convictions, and out- 
wardly embraced a religion which, in his heart, he neither loved 
nor respected. It remained to be seen, whether to the king 
who had made the ignoble purchase, or to the nation w T hose 
representative nobles had exacted the price and connived at the 
sacrifice of truth and honor, the City of Paris, soon to open its 
gates, was in reality worth the costly mass paid for it. 

The news of the abjuration produced in the minds of honest 

men, far and near, the most painful impression. Politicians 

might applaud an act intended to conciliate the favor of the 

great majority of the nation, and extol the astuteness of the 

kins; in choosing the most opportune moment for his 

Public opinion & ,° rr 

respecting the change or religion — the moment when he would se- 
cure the support of the Roman Catholics, fatigued 
by the length of the w r ar and too eager for peace to question 
very closely the sincerity of the king's motives, without forfeit- 
ing the support of the Huguenots. But men of conscience, 
judging Henry's conduct by a standard of morality immutable 
and eternal, passed a severe sentence of condemnation upon 
the most flagrant instance of a betrayal of moral convictions 
which the age had known. It was a Roman Catholic and a 
persistent royalist who, on hearing of the strange event of Saint 
Denis, exclaimed to another of the same religious and political 
sentiments : " Ah, my friend ! The king is lost ! Now he is 
deserving of death, which he never was before." It was a bishop 

1 The contemporary pamphlet entitled " Discours des ceremonies observees 
a, la conversion du tres-grand et tres-belliqueux Prince, Henry IV, Roy de 
France et de Navarre, a la Religion Catholique, Apostolique et Romaine," to 
which I have already referred, may be considered the best authority for this 
portion, of the history of the abjuration. De Thou, Davila, the Recueil des 
choses memorables, Lestoile, the official account signed by the Dean of Beau- 
vais (reprinted in Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, xiii. 343-351), etc., 
may also be consulted to advantage. 


of the established church who deplored the abjuration in these 
words : " I am a Catholic in life and in profession, and the 
king's very faithful subject and servant. Such I shall ever live, 
such I shall die. Yet I should have deemed it quite as good, 
nay, better, that the king had remained in his religion, rather 
than change it as he has done. In the matter of conscience we 
have a God above who is our Judge. Regard for II im alone 
ought to influence the conscience of kings, not regard for king- 
doms, and crowns, and the forces of men. I look only for dis- 
aster as the consequence of this." ' 

From across the Channel, Henry's faithful ally added a voice 

of frank, though affectionate, remonstrance. Queen Elizabeth, 

in the first transports of her indignation, had been disposed 

summarily to recall from France every soldier she had 

Letter of 

Queen Eliza- sent thither, and to withhold from the French king all 
aid for the future. 2 In a calmer moment, when less 
incensed but not less deeply grieved, she wrote the following 
letter, with her own hand, in acknowledgment of a message 
received through Henry's special envoy, M. de Morlas : 

" Ah ! what sorrow, what regrets, and what groans have I felt 
in my soul, at the sound of the tidings which Morlas has brought 
me! My God ! Is it possible that any worldly consideration 
can have effaced the terror denounced by the Divine wrath ? 
Can we, even according to reason, look for a good sequel to so 
iniquitous an act ? 

" Can you imagine that He who has sustained and preserved 
you by His hand would permit you to walk alone in your great- 
est need ? It is a perilous thing to do evil that good may come. 
Still I hope that a more healthy inspiration may come to you. 
Meanwhile, I shall not cease to place you in the foremost rank 
of my devotions, in order that the hands of Esau may not spoil 
the blessings of Jacob. Whereas you promise me all friend- 
ship and faithfulness, I confess that I have dearly merited them, 
nor shall I repent, provided you do not change your Father 

1 Lestoile, ii. 164. 

2 See the correspondence of Beauvoir la Node, French ambassador in Eng- 
land, MSS., State Paper Office, apud Motley, United Netherlands, iii. 253. 

1593. THE ABJURATION. 357 

(otherwise I shall be to you but a bastard sister on the Father's 
side) ; for I shall always love the natural better than the adopted. 
God knows it is so, and may He guide you in the right way. 
Your very confident sister, sire, if it be after the old fashion ; 
with the new I will have nothing to do. Elizabeth K." ' 

" It is a perilous thing to do evil that good may come ! " The 
English queen could not have expressed more tersely her warn- 
ing to Henry the Fourth ; she could not have enunciated more 
distinctly a principle of such uniform application that one need 
go no farther than to Henry himself to find, in his own person, 
in his posterity, and in the country over which he reigned, 
sufficient illustration of its truth. 

The abjuration has not been without its apologists from the 
date of its occurrence down to our own days. There will prob- 
ably be no lack of them in time to come. In France herself it is 
one of the most disastrous results of the act that it has lowered 
the tone of political morality, by substituting for the inflexible 
rule of duty a more convenient and variable standard of tempo- 
rary expediency. Doubtless Henry veiled from his own eyes, 
and, so far as he could, from the eyes of others, the deformity 
of the deed he committed, by investing it with the garb of a 
signal advantage to be derived, not so much by himself as by his 
kingdom. And ever since there have been those who have not 
wearied of exalting his conduct, when, forsooth, he sacrificed 
personal religious belief upon the altar of national unity, into a 
brilliant exhibition of the virtue of self-abnegation. It may, 
however, well be questioned whether the king was mainly in- 
spired by any such elevated patriotism as is here supposed, and 

1 This striking letter, which I translate, is a proof that, if Queen Elizabeth's 
French accent was so odd as to expose her to some ridicule, she wrote the lan- 
guage forcibly and well. See Read, Henri IV et le ministre Chamier, 93. 
Copies of the letter are to be found in the Colbert MSS. of the National Li- 
brary of Paris, vol. 16 ; in the Dupuy MSS., vol. 121, in the Archives of the 
Council of State, Geneva, No. 2183, and in the Cottonian MSS., British Mu- 
seum, Titus C. 7, 161. This last gives the date as November 12, 1593. M. 
Read (ubi supra, and in the Bulletin de la Societe de l'histoire du Protestant- 
isme francais, vii. 263, 264) has given a more correct transcript of the original 
than M. Capefigue. 


whether a monarch with whom cool calculation of private ad- 
vantage was a constant trait of character really entertained 
views so disinterested. " It is the usual artifice of bad passions," 
an eminent historian of our own times has aptly remarked, when 
writing on another but a kindred theme, " to ascribe the cruel 
gratifications in which they indulge themselves either to some 
great idea whose accomplishment they are pursuing or to the 
absolute necessity of success." But he justly adds, "History 
would dishonor herself did she accept these lying excuses. It is 
her duty to refer the evil to its source, and to restore to the vices 
of men what belongs to them." ! 

If there be any who, after a dispassionate perusal of the story 
of Henry's renunciation of the faith of his childhood, still hold 
to the opinion that the insincere action was, under the circum- 
stances, deserving of approbation rather than censure, the his- 
torian may well doubt his ability to move them from their posi- 
tion. He might, indeed, point out the unhappy consequences 
evidencing themselves in the gradual but sure degeneracy of the 
king, and in the disasters that overtook the dynasty of which he 
was the founder ; he might draw upon his fancy to construct a 
picture of what France would possibly have been, had the mon- 
arch but been true to himself and to his real belief. But, after 
all, the question in hand is not so much a historical inquiry as a 
problem of ethics from whose unalterable decisions there is no 
appeal. In the estimation of the just, however, enlightened by 
' the lessons of experience, the path of truth and fidelity to prin- 
ciple is not only the path of duty ; it is always the course of 
true safety. 2 

1 Guizot, Histoire de la Republique d'Angleterre et de Cromwell, i. 05. 

2 'Op&fcf aX-rj^ei' atl., Soph. Ant., 1195. Sir James Stephen has thoughtfully 
discussed the abjuration of Henry IV. in the sixteenth of his Lectures on the 
History of France. No impartial student of the pa>t will hesitate to conclude, 
with the Cambridge professor, that the day of the king's "impious, because 
pretended, conversion was among the dies nefasti of his country." 

1593. THE EDICT OF NANTES. 35 i) 



The events that occurred at Saint Denis, as recorded in the 
preceding chapter, render it proper that the history should, from 
this point forward, assume a somewhat different type, 
character of Until the Abjuration the fortunes of the Huguenots 
had been inseparably connected with the personal 
successes and reverses of Henry the Fourth. However imper- 
fect an exponent the king was of the moral and religious life of 
the French Protestants, however fickle and selfish his zeal, how- 
ever prone his disposition to subordinate Huguenot interests 
to his own, he was still the nominal head of the party, the sol- 
emnly elected Protector of the Reformed Churches, as, during 
previous reigns, he had been the recognized mouth-piece of their 
complaints and their demands. A prince of the blood, the appar- 
ently remote prospect that he might one day 'be summoned to 
the throne had been a sufficient pretext for the institution of the 
most formidable conspiracy against the established order ever 
set on foot in France ; and this merely because of the fact that 
he was a Protestant who, after his compulsory renunciation of 
his religion, at the time of the massacre of St. Bartholomew's 
Day, had, when left to himself, resumed its profession. The 
circumstance that the desperate struggle, which he had waged 
for four years previous to his accession, was forced upon him 
because of his Protestant creed has made the record of his vic- 
tories and defeats germane to the story of those more truly 
religious men whom similar reasons led to fight shoulder to 
shoulder with him. 

His abjuration alters the situation essentially. The historian 
of Huguenot affairs may now be excused from the attempt to 
chronicle all the remaining incidents of the reign of a king who 


has become a stranger to Protestantism, and may be allowed to 
refer the curious to the pages of works more general in their 

It is true that Henry himself failed, at first, to comprehend 
the full import of the change he had made. He still claimed 

to be a Huguenot ; though what a Roman Catholic 
claims to be Huguenot might be, he did not explain. He denied 

that he had changed his faith. When a courtier in- 
formed him of the fact that a certain person had been of the 
religion which his majesty formerly held and had recently ab- 
jured, the king took him up sharply. " What religion do you 
say I held ? I have never known, nor do I now know, any but 
one Catholic religion ! I am not a Jew ! " He did not even 
take care to hide his affection for certain things which served as 
badges of Huguenot belief. Passing through his sister's rooms, 
and finding the company engaged in singing the psalms of 
Marot and Beza, he did not hesitate to join in with his own 
voice. 2 No wonder that the inconsistency was eagerly laid hold 
of by unfriendly preachers in the interest of the League, and 
paraded before the eyes of the people as proof positive of his 
majesty's hypocrisy. " Is it not notorious,'' exclaimed the gray 
friar Guarinus, "that although Henry of Bourbon goes to mass, 
he nevertheless is accustomed to sing, 

4 Quiconque se fie en Dieu jamais lie perira ? ' " 3 

1 Lestoile, ii. 212. 

2 Ibid., under date of Sunday, March 2, 1597, ii. 281. Vanmesnil and others 
were singing Psalm 79, " Les gens entrez sont en ton heritage." Madame de 
Monceaux (Gabrielle d'Estrees) begged the monarch to stop, and placed h^r 
hand on his mouth. This led some of those present to exclaim in a low- 
voice : " Do you see that wretched woman (cette vilaine) who wants to prevent 
the king from singing God's praises ? " 

3 Ibid., ii. 191. The last lines of Theodore Beza's version of the thirty-fourth 
psalm are intended, which, however, more correctly are, 

" Quiconque espere au Dieu vivant 
Jamais ne perira." 

If we may believe Lestoile, Friar Guarinus, when discovered at the time of 
the surrender of Paris (March, 1594), in his place of concealment, a garret, fell 
down on his knees and humbly promised his captor that, if spared, he would 
preach as zealously for the king as he had hitherto preached against him. 


Nor was this the only indication of the king's lingering fond- 
ness for the church he had left. Whenever he met one of his 
sister's Huguenot ministers, he made it his practice to take him 
apart and whisper in his ear such requests as, " Pray to God in 
my behalf ! Do not forget me in your prayers." ' 

It cannot, however, be denied that, as time advanced, such 

manifestations diminished in frequency, and Henry came more 

and more to a conscious recognition of the gulf which 

His occasional ° . ° , 

anxiety of had opened between his Huguenot subjects and him- 
self. Sometimes the enormity of the crime he had 
committed in sacrificing his religious convictions impressed him 
deeply, and he became the victim of deep dejection. This was 
particularly the case when, having fallen ill at the time of 
the prolonged siege of La Fere, he summoned to his bedside 
a Huguenot nobleman whose bluntness of speech had more 
than once given him deep offence. It was the same Agrippa 
d'Aubigne who, not long before, after his majesty had been 
wounded in the lip by the misdirected knife of Jean Chastel, 
gave him the significant warning : " Sire, God, whom you have 
as yet abandoned only with your lips, has contented Himself 
with piercing your lips. But when the heart shall have re- 
nounced Him, He will pierce the heart." 2 The Huguenot on 
the present occasion found his old captain agitated by a strange 
solicitude. Having shut himself in with Agrippa alone, and 
after shedding many tears and more than once kneeling in 
prayer to God Almighty, Henry adjured him, in view of the 
many caustic but useful truths he had heard from his mouth, 
to answer him frankly this momentous question : Whether he 
believed that by his change of religion he had committed the 
sin against the Holy Ghost ? In vain D'Aubigne excused him- 

1 Lestoile (under date of May, 1595), ii. 263. 

5 " Sire, Dieu que vous n'avez encores delaisse que des levres, s'est contente 
de les percer ; mais quand le coeur le renoncera il percera le coeur." Agrippa 
d'Aubigne, Histoire universelle, iii. 377. In his Memoires (Edition Pantheon, 
502), Agrippa repeats the incident with slight variations. He adds that, while 
Henry seemed not to take the remark amiss, his mistress, the fair Gabrielle, 
exclaimed: "What fine words, but badly employed ! " "Yes, madam," he 
replied, ' ' because they will be of no use. " 


self from undertaking to answer, and begged permission to call 
in a minister to solve his master's scruples. Henry insisted 
upon an immediate reply, which D'Aubigne made as best he 
could, setting forth in a simple manner the four elements which 
he deemed essential characteristics of the unpardonable sin, 
and leaving to the king the sole responsibility of determining 
for himself whether the description applied to him. 1 The in- 
terview lasted full four hours, and was frequently interrupted 
by fervent prayers uttered by the monarch in his own behalf. 
But nothing came of it. On the morrow Henry's indisposi- 
tion was relieved, and he never alluded to the subject again. 3 

But Henry had become a Roman Catholic, and only those 
events of his subsequent history are entitled to a place here 
that are necessary to a complete understanding of the difficul- 
ties and delays still besetting the Huguenot struggle for some 
measure of religious liberty, if not for an unattainable equality 
in the sight of the law. 

The opposition of the League to the king's claims had lost 
its only specious pretext when the king forsook his alleged 
heresy ; yet that opposition still continued. In fact, the des- 
peration engendered by the conviction that sooner or later a 
Roman Catholic prince of undoubted legitimacy must prevail 
led to excesses even greater than had hitherto been 
virulence of witnessed. Such preachers as Boucher grew more 
outrageous in the use of scurrilous language from the 
pulpit. Henry of Bourbon fared little better at their hands 
than Henry of Yalois had fared. They proclaimed his con- 

1 They were, 1st, a knowledge of the sin when committing it ; 2d, having 
extended a hand to the spirit of error and repelled with the other hand the 
spirit of truth; 3d, the absence of repentance; and, 4th. despair of God'? 

' 2 There seems, at first sight, to be a serious discrepancy between the two ac- 
counts given of this interview by Agrippa d'Aubigne ; for. whereas the His- 
toire universelle states that it was at Travecy that Henry fell dangerously ill, 
and by implication places the scene of the conversation at this village, the 
Memoires make him to have been at death's door at Monceaux when visited 
by the Huguenot captain. But Travecy is a village just north of La Fere, and 
by the Monceaux in question is undoubtedly meant the place now known 
as Monceau les-Leups, somewhat farther toward the east. Both villages are 


version a feigned one, the absolution he had received invalid. 
One of their number called upon his hearers to pray Almighty 
God not to permit the pope, who was always guided by the 
Holy Ghost and could not err in the faith, to be so persuaded 
by the prayers of the Bearnais as to grant him his favor. As 
for the redoutable Boucher himself, who a few months since 
had not scrupled, at the fifth anniversary of the Parisian Bar- 
ricades, to say that Henry was a miscreant, good for nothing- 
else than to be thrown into a tumbrel and hung on the gallows, 
he still continued to preach the startling doctrine that it was 
out of the power of the pope, nay, of God himself, to absolve 
so desperate a sinner as Henry of Xavarre ! ' 

Whatever he may have thought of his own ability, Pope Clem- 
ent showed no disposition to exercise in the king's behalf any of 
pope element tne resources that might lurk in the apostolic treasu- 
intractabie. r | es f g race> When the monarch sent the Duke of 
Kevers to Rome to endeavor to placate the pontiff, Clement 
stoutly refused to recognize Henry the Fourth, or Navarre (for 
so he affected to style him), as King of France, or to 

Mission of • i -i i • . 

Neversto receive the duke in any capacity save as a private in- 
dividual. Even then he treated him with little cour- 
tesy, while the ecclesiastics who accompanied Severs were told 
that they must purge themselves of the fault of their partici- 
pation in the recent events at Saint Denis in the presence of the 
Cardinal of Santa Severina, Grand Inquisitor and Grand Pen- 
itentiary, before they could be admitted to the honor of kissing 
the feet of his holiness. In the sequel this degrading condition 
was observed, slightly modified, indeed, in consequence of the 
duke's earnest remonstrance against the indignity placed upon 
him and his suite by making the French prelates appear to be 
fit subjects for the action of the Inquisition ; but the Cardinal 
of Aragon, whom the pontiff proposed to substitute for the 

within the hounds of the present commune of La Fere, and were occupied 
during the siege by the royalists. It is not improbable that the house occu- 
pied by the king was on the confines of the two villages ; or, the historian 
may accidentally have used the name of one village for that of the other. 
They are barely six miles distant from each other. 
1 De Thou, viii. (bk. 107) 311 ; Lestoile, ii. 135, 212. 


Grand Inquisitor, was notoriously devoted to Spanish interests 
and hostile to France. In the object of his mission Nevers 
utterly failed. Clement was deaf to all argument. He was re- 
solved to deny the king the desired absolution. Without wait- 
ing for the ambassador to broach the subject, he exclaimed : 
" Do not tell me that your king is a Catholic. I shall never 
believe that he is really converted unless an angel come from 
heaven to assure me that he is. As for the Catholics that have 
followed his party, I do not hold them to be disobedient and 
deserters of religion and of the crown; but they are only bas- 
tard children and sons of the bondwoman. On the contrary, 
those of the League are the true legitimate children, the true 
mainstays, and even the true pillars of the Catholic religion." 
He explained his resolute attitude toward the French king, 
when, a little later, he declared that Henry had not given a sin- 
gle mark of Catholicit} 7 , except that he used the sign of the 
Cross ; he persevered in his attempts to reduce a kingdom to 
which he had forfeited his rights, and this, too, in spite of 
the papal excommunication ; he had not restored the Roman 
Catholic religion in Beam ; he still treated with the Protestant 
princes of Germany and with Queen Elizabeth; he even toler- 
ated Huguenot preaching within his palace, for the benefit of 
his sister. 2 In the end the Duke of Nevers made his way ont 
of the pontifical capital rather in the fashion of an escaping ene- 
my than with the formalities of an ambassador returning from 
a mission. Receiving the information, as he was departing 
through the Porta del Popolo, that Clement had instructed 
officers to serve upon the ecclesiastics who accompanied him a 
citation to appear before the Inquisition, upon pain of excom- 
munication in case of disobedience, the duke bade them ride at 

1 " Ayant reconneu vostre Saintete, en toutes les trois audiences preeedentes, 
fort resolue de n'absoudre mon Roy ; me disant d'elle-mesme, sans que je luy 
parlasse de ce fait, qu'elle ne vouloit croire qu'il fust bien converty. si un 
ange du ciel ne venoit le luy dire a l'aureille." Discours de la legation de M. 
le due de Nevers, in the Memoires de Nevers. ii. 463. I have used in the text 
the more extended report of Clement's words in the Discours de ce que fit 
Monsieur de Nevers a son voyage Rome en Tannee 1593, ibid , ii. 414 

- De Thou, viii (bk. 108)361. 


his side ; meanwhile giving out that he would not hesitate to 
kill on the spot any person presumptuous enough to undertake 
the execution of the pope's command. And so he left Rome. 1 
It was about eighteen months later that negotiations were 
renewed with the head of the Roman Catholic Church. We 
shall not be uncharitable if we suppose that the marked suc- 
cesses of Henry the Fourth, to which reference must soon be 
made, were the chief cause of the entertainment, on the part 
of Clement, of proposals which he had at first rejected. 
D'Ossat, later cardinal, and Du Perron, Bishop of Evreux, 
were now the French agents. Their exertions, if not 

Efforts of ° i-i.i 

D'Ossat and more strenuous or more skilful, were attended with 
better success than those of the duke. The pope 
and the ultramontane party at first endeavored to exact the 
hardest conditions from the king, as the price of reconciliation. 
They talked of requiring Henry to repeal the tolerant Edict of 
1577, to exclude all Protestants from offices of trust and dig- 
nity, to proscribe all religious liberty, so soon as the present 
war should be at an end, to restore to the adherents of the 
League all their forfeited honors, to renounce alliance with the 
Protestant Powers, and to do other things alike repugnant to 
the royal plans and impossible of execution. But, now that 
success had perched on the royal banners, it was a matter of 
comparative ease for the envoys to show the absurdity of ex- 
pecting such measures. They refused absolutely to take any 
steps which might appear to place the crown of France at the 
disposal of the pope, or be construed as a rehabilitation of his 
majesty. This much of humiliation Henry was spared through- 
out a transaction in itself sufficiently humbling to a monarch 
possessed of ordinary self-respect. The envoys consented to 
abjure in the king's name any Calvinistic or other heretical doc- 

1 De Thou, viii. 355. The " Discours de la legation de M. le due de Nevers " 
is the most authentic account of this embassy, being penned by the duke in the 
form of a letter to Pope Clement VIII. himself, under date of January 14, 1594. 
It occupies pp. 437-489 of the second volume of the Memoires de Nevers. An- 
other and shorter account which the duke gave to the world, under the name 
of a third person, is contained in the same Memoires (ii. 405-433). It gives 
some details not found in the fuller statement. 


trines which he might once have held, and to swear submission 
to the Roman See. They took the trouble to engage that their 
master would go at least four times a year to the confessional, 
and approach at least four times a year the holy communion. 
!Not only so, but, unless prevented by sufficient reasons, he would 
say his chaplet every day, recite the litanies every "Wednesday, 
and repeat the rosary of the blessed Virgin every Friday. lie 
would take the Virgin to be his protectress, would observe all 
the fasts of the church, would hear mass daily. lie would re- 
establish Roman Catholicism in his ancestral states of Beam, 
and would bring up the young Prince of Conde, presumptive 
heir to the throne, in the Roman Catholic religion. Indeed, 
the envoys were reluctantly brought to promise in Henry'.- lie- 
half, that he would publish and execute in France the Decree* 
of the Council of Trent. They took good care, however, to 
stipulate that exception should be made of those articles, should 
there be any such, that could not be carried into effect with- 
out disturbing the quiet of the State. 1 

These points having been virtually agreed upon, the pope 
was as well satisfied as circumstances would allow him to be. 
The pope eat- However, he went through the form of consulting 
isfied. the " sacred college," which took more than a fort- 

night for the expression of the opinions of its members. More 
than three-fourths of the cardinals declared themselves in favor 
of granting the absolution. Nor could the edifying spectacle 
of the " supreme pontiff" publicly seeking divine illumination 
be spared. Twice did Clement, with a very small company of 
ecclesiastics, his servants, proceed at dawn of day from the 
Quirinal palace to the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, there 
to engage in protracted supplications at the shrine of the Vir- 
gin. The pope walked barefooted, as did also his attendant?. 
He looked neither to the right nor to the left, but fixed his eyes 
upon the ground. He wept continually, and refrained from 
giving his customary benediction to the passers-by. 1 

1 I refer the reader, curious in such matters, to the summary of sixteen 
articles in De Thou, viii. (hook 113) 640. 

2 Letter of D'Ossat to Villeroy, Rome, August 30, 1595, in Lettres du Cardi- 
nal d'Ossat, i. 165. 


The pompous ceremonial of the absolution took place on 

Sunday, the seventeenth of September, 1595, upon the square 

in front of St. Peter's. Here, in the presence of an 

Ceremony of . .1 . x> 1 

the king's ab- immense concourse or people, the two .brenchmen 

solution. 1 1 tt-« _i» -n it i 

who represented the lvmg or r ranee knelt and swore, 
with their hands resting upon the Holy Gospels, that the mon- 
arch, their master, would persevere in the Roman, Catholic and 
Apostolic religion, and that he would observe all the conditions 
previously agreed upon and now publicly read. Here, too, the 
same envoys of the Very Christian King kneeled a second time 
before Clement, while the words of the Fifty-first Psalm were 
solemnly sung by the papal choir. As each successive verse 
was repeated, the pope, with a rod which he held in his hand, 
lightly smote the shoulders of the representatives of the most 
prominent monarchy of Europe, in token that the Church eman- 
cipated Henry of Navarre from the censures which bound him. 
The ceremony might be explained as a mere relic of Roman 
law which had passed over into the usage of the primitive 
Christian discipline. Most men, however, listened with im- 
patience to the strains of the Miserere, and murmured that the 
pope had inflicted a disgraceful stain upon the fair escutcheon 
of France — or, as the caustic Agrippa d'Aubigne well expresses 
himself, " que la pantoufle par-la se decrottoit sur les fleurs de 
lis." ' 

Meanwhile, if Henry's abjuration had not instantly concilia- 
ted the friendship and favor of the occupant of the papal chair, 

neither did it protect the king's person from conspira- 

Conspiracies , , * . 1 p t-»« t» «i 

against cies aimed at his hie. lhe plot or Pierre Parriere 

Pierre Bar-' followed closely upon the monarch's change of religious 
profession. Happily, the culprit's imprudence in 
communicating his design to several ecclesiastics led to his 
arrest before he had a chance to attempt the execution. A 
Carmelite, a Capuchin, and one or two fanatical priests kept 
his secret, but a Dominican monk from Florence proved more 
loyal to the country where he was domiciled than they had been 

1 Histoire universelle, iii. 431. See, in addition to De Thou, viii. 635-643, 
the important letters of D'Ossat, in the work already mentioned. 


to the land of their birth. 1 The execution of Barriere, who was 
broken upon the wheel before being suffered to die, did not de- 
ter Jean Chaste!, a lad of only nineteen years, but a precocious 
pupil in a college of the Jesuits, from renewing the attempt be- 
fore eighteen months had passed. This time the 

Jean Chastel. , . . r tt i • 

machinations or Henry s enemies were more nearly 
successful. The puny boy — for such he was in stature — insinu- 
ated himself into the royal apartments, where the monarch, who 
had just returned from Picardy, and was still booted, was receiv- 
ing the greetings of his nobles. The king was leaning forward 
courteously to raise Hagny and Montigny from their knees, 
when Chastel, who had approached unperceived, struck at him 
with a knife. The blow was aimed at Henry's throat, but only 
cut his upper lip and loosened one of his teeth. There was no 
possibility of mistaking the school where Chastel had learned 
his lesson all too well. He admitted that he had studied three 
years with the Jesuits, and on his person were tokens of his 
motive and of his design. He wore a shirt which had hung at the 
famous shrine of the Virgin "paritura" at Chartres, with the 
words " Henrico quarto " inscribed thereon. He was provided 
with some strings of beads blessed by priestly hands, with an 
"agnus Dei," and with scraps of paper on which the significant 
prayer was written : " Lord, vouchsafe me strength to execute 
(my purpose) against Henry of Bourbon ! " ' 

In Barriere's attempt the inspiration of the crime by the 

1 Recueil des choses memorables, 766, 767 ; Lestoile, ii. 174 ; De Thou. viii. 
(bk. 107) 321-324; " Brief discours du proces criminel faict a Pierre Bairi&re, 
diet la Barre, natif d'Orleans, accuse de l'horrible et execrable parricide par 
lui entrepris et attente contre la persoiiue du Roi," reprinted in Memoires de la 
Ligue, v. 450-457, and in Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, xiii. 302-370. 

' 2 Henry IV. toDuplessis Mornay, December 27, 1594, in Memoires de Duples- 
sis Mornay, vi. 128, 129 (a circular letter, of which a copy was addressed to the 
municipality of Lyons, etc.); Lomenietothe same, December 28, 1594, ibid., vi. 
130, 131 ; Memoires de la Ligue, vi. 249, etc. ; De Thou, viii. (bk. iii. | 532, etc.; 
Recueil, 781, 782 ; Lestoile, ii. 252. The most copious source of information 
on the subject of Jean Chastel, his crime, his trial, and his punishment is, how- 
ever, the sixth or supplementary volume of the Memoires de Conde (London, 
1743), which devotes nearly two hundred pages to documents bearing upon 
the subject. The most remarkable of these is, undoubtedly, the audacious de- 
fence of the assassin published in 1595, under the title of "Apologie pour Je- 


Society of Jesus had been suspected ; in the attempt of Chastel 
the hand of that society and of the King of Spain, whose ready 
tool the organization had long been, was all but caught in the 
Expulsion of act - ^° wonder that the execution of Chastel was 
the Jesuits, accompanied by the expulsion of the Jesuits — " the 
Society of Judas" the people nicknamed them ' — and closely 
followed by a declaration of w r ar on the part of the king against 
the gray-headed monarch of Spain, Philip the Second, now tot- 
tering on the verge of the grave, to whom the employment of 
the assassin's dagger to accomplish his ends had long been con- 
genial occupation. 2 

Despite papal opposition and Spanish or Jesuit daggers, how- 
ever, Henry had been making steady progress in his struggle to 
Henrys sue- attain universal recognition. In January, 1594, the 
cesses. city of Meaux made its submission. In February, 

Lyons copied the example of Meaux ; then followed Peronne, 
Mondidier, Roye, and Orleans. On the twenty-seventh day of 
the same month the impressible people beheld the spectacle of 
the solemn anointing of Henry. Rheims being in the hands of 
He is anointed tne enemv > Chartres was chosen to be the scene of the 
ntchartreB. great pageant. The sacred " ampoule," wherein the 
holy oil had been carefully kept in store for such occasions 
in the cathedral of Rheims, was, of course, quite out of reach ; 
but fortunately there was discovered an escape from what might 
have proved an insuperable difficulty. It was ascertained that 
a vial, whose contents possessed equal virtue for the con- 
secration of kings, was to be found in the abbey of Marmou- 
tier. Like the more famous " ampoule " of Rheims, this vessel 

han Chastel, Parisien, execute a mort, et pour les Peres et Escolliers de la So- 
ciete de Jesus, bannis du Royaume de France." The real author of the trea- 
tise was, it is said, Jean Boucher, the same furious preacher who had from his 
pulpit for years denounced in unmeasured terms Henry III. and his successor, 
and who wrote a famous book on the " feigned conversion " of the latter. 

1 Memoires de la Ligue, vi. 275. 

2 Henry IV. 's declaration of war is dated January 17, 1595, just three weeks 
after Chastel's attempt. It is published in Memoires de la Ligue, vi. 297-300. 
The document refers particularly to the miraculous deliverance of the king 
from " le coup effroyable, tire de la main dun Francois . . . mais pousse 
<Tun esprit tres-inhumain et vrayement Espagnol." 

Vol. II.— 24 


with its precious contents was reported to have been miraculous- 
ly sent from heaven for the express purpose of being used in the 
ceremonial of the coronation of kings. Besides, the ampoule 
of Marmoutier had this in its favor, that the custodians asserted 
it had been the means of operating a wonderful cure in the case 
of St. Martin of Tours himself. 1 Moreover, said the ecclesias- 
tics, it had been almost miraculously preserved from the fury of 
the Huguenots in the year 1562, when most of the sacred relics 
of Chartres had been consigned to the flames and the rich rel- 
iquaries had been melted up. 2 Still easier was it to find a sub- 
stitute for the Archbishop of Rheims, the traditional celebrant. 
The worthy Nicholas de Thou, Bishop of Chartres, figured in 
his place, but care was taken throughout the official account of 
the ceremonial to designate him, not by his own proper name, but 
by that of the prelate whose functions he was discharging. 3 

The minor advantages gained by the king were followed by 

the recovery of his capital. On the twenty-second of March, 

1594, Henry made his entry into Paris, to the great satisfaction 

of all good and patriotic citizens, to the deep mortifi- 

Pan6 March cation of the League and of Philip the Second, who 

22 1594 

could no longer gratify his self-complacence by call- 
ing it, as he had lately done, " his good city." Though the time 
had evidently come for the submission of the rebellious capital, 
it was money, after all, that had decided the governor. M. de 
Brissac, to open the gates ; and Henry had good reason to cor- 
rect a speaker who referred to the surrender of Paris as a ren- 
dering to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, even as one most 
render to God the things that are God's. "Ventre Baint-gris," 
said the monarch, using his ordinary exclamation and playing 

1 See the contemporary pamphlet "L'ordre des cvr monies du Sacre el 
Couronnement du tres chrestien rov de France et de Navarre. Henry TV 
printed in Cimber et Danjou, Archives curieuses, xiii. 399-431 ), which de- 
scribes the vase as "la sainte ampoulle, precieusementgardee en Fabbaye de 
Marmoustier, lez la ville de Tours, depuis laguerison que miraculeusement elk 
apporta a saint Martin." The " ampoule " is mentioned in the curious itinerary 
of Jodocus Sincerus, x. 97. 

9 Cayet, Chronologie novenaire, 554. 

3 L'ordre des ceremonies du Sacre, ubi supra, xiii. 405. See De Thou, viil 
376, etc.; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 333. 


upon the similarity of the words in French, " I have not been 
treated like Caesar ; it has not been rendered, it has been vended 
to me!" 1 And now were the acts of the League one by one 
undone, so far as resolutions on paper, and solemn declarations, 
and pompous ceremonies and Te Dennis over the king's triumphs 
could undo them. A parliament, most of whose members had 
lately been the determined enemies of the prince whom they 
recognized only as King of Navarre, re-enforced by the judges 
who had been sitting at Tours, passed the most loyal of deci- 
sions. The Parisian counsellors, who had made haste to order a 
sacred procession to be made annually on the anniversary of the 
massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day, and had assiduously com- 
memorated the Day of the Barricades by another yearly pil- 
grimage to the shrines of the city, now exhibited equal eager- 
ness in putting an end to "all processions and solemnities 
ordered during, or on occasion of, the late troubles," and in es- 
tablishing in perpetuity a new procession in honor of the hap- 
py reduction of Paris to the king's obedience, wherein all the 
members of parliament were to take part attired in red gowns. 2 
The university followed in the footsteps of the parliamentary 
judges. The doctors who for years had been denouncing Henry 
as an apostate from the faith, with no claims to the throne 
which he had not forfeited by his persistent heresy, and who 
had entertained doubts whether the pope himself could absolve 
him of his guilt, were now quite clear in the belief that obedi- 
ence to constituted authority is the duty of every Christian, 
took an oath not only to submit to him with all loyal devotion, 
but to spare neither their blood nor their prayers in his behalf, 
and declared that any of their number who might refuse to fol- 
low their example were rebels, guilty of treason, public enemies, 
and disturbers of the peace. 3 

The example of Paris was copied, within a few months, by 
B-ouen and Havre, by Troyes and Sens and Riom, by Agen 

1 "On ne me la rendu a moy : on me l'a bien vendu." Lestoile, ii. 218. 

2 "Arrest de la cour de parlement de Paris, du trentiesme jour de Mars, 
1594." Memoires de la Ligue, vi. 95-97. 

■' See " Acte public et instrument de 1'obeissance rendue, jureeet signee au 
roy tres chrestien Henry IV, par M. les recteurs, docteurs et supposts de l'u- 


and Villeneuve and Poitiers. The Duke of Elbeuf, also, made 
his submission, and secured the retention of the governor- 
ship of Poitiers ; while the Duke of Guise, who 

Submission . * , 

of cities and yielded later in the year, managed to extort from 
the king such extravagant concessions that the very 
courtiers, a greedy set, blamed the royal complaisance, and 
Chancellor Chiverny not only remonstrated, but obtained from 
Henry an official statement of the objections which he inter- 
posed. 1 The scene was repeated with still greater intensity 
when, by the Edict of Folembray, the very chief of the culprits 
of the League, the Duke of Mayenne, secured even greater ad- 
vantages than had fallen to the lot of his nephew. The cour- 
ageous Diana of Montmorency made strenuous opposition to the 
edict in his favor, protesting against it in the name of Queen 
Louise, widow of Henry the Third, because the edict cleared 
the duke of all responsibility for the murder of her late hus- 
band ; and the Parliament of Paris attempted again and again 
to insert some saving clauses, but was in the end compelled to 
enter the obnoxious paper upon its records without modification.' 
Under Henry the Fourth, in his determined effort to become 
undisputed master of France, nothing prospered more than an 
enmity which held out persistently against his invitations and 
his arms. Only unflinching loyalty was little esteemed and re- 
mained unrewarded. 

In all the numerous edicts published by Henry for the re- 
TheHugue- duction of the rebellious cities of his kingdom, there 
fr°om e many ed was, so far as the Huguenots were concerned, a dreary 
places. uniformity. However they might differ in other re- 

spects, they agreed in one thing : the worship of the Protestants 
was formally excluded from the municipal limits, and even from 

niversite de Paris," dated April 22, 1594, with the form of the oath, etc., 
in Memoires de la Ligue, vi. 98, etc. It should be noted that Boucher, 
Guarinus, Feuardent, and a few others of the most prominent Leaguers did 
not sign, and consulted their safety by flight. On the surrender of Paris, De 
Thou, viii. 382-392, the Recueil des choses memorables, 774-776, Pasquier, 
CEuvres choisies, ii. 345, etc. , may be consulted. 

1 See De Thou, viii. 399-401, 510-512 ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 338, etc. 

2 De Thou, viii. 737-742 ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 374, 375 ; Memoires de la 
Ligue, vi. 376-390. 

1598—1598. THE EDICT OF NANTES. 373 

the suburbs. Nor was the enactment which discriminated in 
so humiliating a manner against the exercises of their faith 
consigned to an inconspicuous place in the statute, where its 
presence might be less glaringly offensive. Everywhere it oc- 
cupied the most prominent position, so as not to be overlooked 
even by the most careless reader. The very first of the articles 
of capitulation granted to Vitry, Governor of Meaux, when he 
made his submission, was a promise of his majesty that he 
would maintain all the inhabitants in the Poman, Catholic, and 
Apostolic religion, without allowing the exercise of any other 
worship. 1 This was on the fourth of January, 1594. The next 
month Orleans and Bourges opened their gates to Henry, and 
in the initial article of the edicts registered in the Parliament 
at Tours in favor of each of the cities was a solemn provision 
that, in the entire bailiwick and in all the towns within the juris- 
diction of the " presidial " court, there should henceforth be no 
other worship than that of the Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic 
religion, save in the places and in the manner permitted by the 
Edict of Pacification of 1577, and by the declarations and articles 
since published for its execution. 2 In the edict by which the 
monarch magnanimously 3 took his rebellious capital back into 
his good favor, in the month of March following, he began by 
re-enacting the exclusion of all other religious exercises than 
those of the Pomish Church from the city and suburbs of Paris, 
and its neighborhood to the distance of ten leagues. 4 April 
witnessed similar royal edicts, containing similar provisions 
unfriendly to Protestantism, in favor of Pouen, Havre and 

1 "Sans qu'il y soit faict autre exercice de religion." Articles accordez par 
le Roy aux habitants de la ville de Meaux, in Recueil des Edicts et Articles ac- 
cordez par le Roy Henry IV pour la reunion de ses subjets. Imprime l'An 
de Grace 1604. Fol. 4. 

2 Ibid., fols. 9, 14. 

3 " Recognoissant qu'il n'y a rien qui nous donne plus de tesmoignage que 
nous sommes f aits a la ressemblance de Dieu, que la clemence et debonnairete, 
oubliant d'un franc courage les offenses et fautes passees, avons declare, 1 ' etc. 
Ibid., fols. 22, 23. 

4 Ibid. , ubi supra. Duplessis Mornay, while rejoicing over the capture of 
Paris, may be pardoned for having entertained the fear that it might here fare 
with Henry as with the Englishman who, at the battle of Poitiers, is said to 
have caught a Frenchman who carried Mm off. Memoires, vi. 47. 


Verneuil in Normandy, of Troyes in Champagne, and of S 
In May the Roman Catholics were assured by a solemn compact 
that there should be no Huguenot preche in Lyons ; in July, 
not only that there should be none in Poitiers, but that the 
services of the mass should be re-established in Niort, Fontenay, 
La Rochelle, and all other places of the district of Poitou where 
it had been intermitted. So fared it likewise with Chateau- 
Thierry, Laon, Amiens, and Beauvais, in the north ; with Agen, 
Villeneuve, and Marmande, in the south ; with St. Malo, in the 
west. When the Duke of Guise made his peace, in the last 
month of the year, his reconciliation brought with it the inter- 
diction of the Reformed rites at Rheims, Rocroy, St. Dizier. 
Guise, Joinville, Fismes, and Montcornet ; just as when the 
Sieur de Bois-Dauphin, in the following year, saw fit to come 
to terms with his liege, he secured a similar proscription of 
Protestantism from Mans and all the other places which he 
brought with him to the king's service. Mayenne's submission 
was conditioned upon the concession of the cities of Chalons, 
Seurre, and Soissons to him as places of security, for the space 
of six years; and, for that term, neither was Protestant worship 
to be held there, nor was any Protestant to be appointed to an 
office of trust or emolument. So it was that Protestant worship 
was, a little later, expelled from a distance of four leagues about 
Toulouse; and, shortly before the promulgation of the great 
edict of which I am shortly to speak, from Rochefort on the 
Loire, from Craon, and, in the compact with the Duke of Mer- 
cosur, the last of the Leaguers to hold out, from the city of 
Nantes itself and for a distance of three leagues all around — 
this last by a "perpetual and irrevocable" edict. 1 

In the midst of all these provisions for the sole occupancy 
of all the great points of influence in the kingdom 

No provisions » r 

favorabieto ^ y fl ie Roman Catholic Church, there was not a 

them. <J 

sentence in behalf of the king's former associates, 
those who continued to profess the religious faith he had once 
held, the men whose valor and self-sacrifice had triumphantly 

1 All these edicts are contained in the " Recueil des Edicts et Articles ac 
cordez par le Roy Henry IV pour la reunion de ses subjets,' fols. 1-136. 


carried him, through many a bloody conflict, to the throne. 
Each new proclamation contained a reiteration of his majesty's 
purpose to maintain the Romish priests, in their persons, in 
their ecclesiastical functions, in their revenues. There was 
not a syllable about any possible rights to which the Protestant 
minister of the Gospel might himself be imagined to be en- 
titled, not a syllable asserting that the Protestant laity merited 
some scanty return of gratitude for their unswerving loyalty. 
Instead of this, in each successive edict made to secure the ad- 
hesion of mercenary traitors, wearied of their rebellion, and 
anxious to drive the best possible bargain with the king, the 
Huguenots saw themselves excluded from one or more new 
cities. It became evident at length that, if the process were 
continued much longer, Protestantism would presently find no 
place for the sole of its foot between the British Channel and 
the Mediterranean Sea. 

It is time that we should return to the Huguenots, grieved 

but not dismayed at the king's defection. Certainly they were 

not so much surprised as they might have been, had 

The Hugue- . - 

notsnotdis- Henry's attitude from the moment of his accession 
been a more generous one. With his first public 
declaration at St. Cloud, the late chief of the Huguenots clearly 
assumed a neutral position as between Roman Catholicism and 
Protestantism. Yet this was the moment which a man of deep 
religious sympathies — or, indeed, even a man of shallow con- 
victions, but loyally grateful to the companions associated with 
him for long years — would have chosen to identify himself 
more completely than ever before with the adherents of the 
same faith. Henry's course as king was from the beginning an 
acknowledgment of his selfishness — an admission that he had 
now come to regard the religion which he had hitherto pro- 
fessed only as the scaffolding by which he had climbed to his 
present elevation, but for which he had little concern, regarding 
the perpetuity of the structure as essential neither to his happi- 
ness nor to his security. A Gaspard de Coligny would have 
shrunk from putting such an indignity upon his creed or upon 
his fellow-believers. 

The outlook was certainly discouraging. The Huguenots 


knew the king too well to believe that he was of himself disposed 
to persecute his old associates in arms. And yet who could say 
Possibility of whither the course of blind submission upon which he 
persecution, ^ad started would lead \ Had he not already gone 
far beyond his own expectations ? He had been urged to en- 
ter the Roman Catholic Church with the purpose of purify - 
it of its admitted abuses ; and he had from the very first 
been compelled to sanction by his example the most flagrant of 
those abuses. Most remarkable of all, those very counsellors 
who were commonly supposed to deny the existence of a God 
were the persons who insisted most upon Henry's swearing that 
he had implicit belief in images and relics, in purga- 

Duplessis . L D I © 

Momay'sex- tory and indulgences. Duplessis Mornav graphically 

postulation. J & . L ./ to I J 

described the king's unhappy plight m a letter of ex- 
postulation addressed to the monarch himself. "'Sire,' you 
were told, i give your people the satisfaction they desire: you 
may afterward believe what you will. Hear as little of the 
mass as you please, provided you are seen to be present at its 
celebration.' Where, on the contrary, is the rigor that has Dot 
been observed ? Have you not been called upon to swear con- 
trary to your conscience, and to abjure your creed in the most 
precise, the least justifiable, terms — a thing which they would 
not have required of a Turk or a Jew? These gentlemen, in 
short, have taken pleasure in triumphing over your faith — a 
faith heretofore triumphant over so many temptations, over so 
many assaults. You were assured that your abjuration was the 
veritable method of destroying the papal authority in France ; 
and you have been made to swear to maintain that authority ! 
Nor is this all. You will be called on to do penance for hav- 
ing been a Huguenot, and the pope will impose that penance 
upon you in the form of a war to be waged against i heretics ' 
— in other words, upon the best Christians, the most loyal of 
Frenchmen, the most sincere among your subjects. At first 
the proposition will shock your native kindliness. You will 
exclaim, 'How shall I wage war against my servants whose 
blood I drank in my necessity !' Nevertheless you will have to 
come to it. You will be entrapped into undertaking hostilities 
merely for a few months. 4 Prove to us that yours is not a 


simulated conversion,' will be the cry of the League. The 
Koman pontiff will add his authority and exact the price of his 
absolution. Meanwhile He who of yore defended you will arm 
Himself against you, and against such an adversary there is 
neither counsel nor might." 

" Sire," said the Protestant champion, in conclusion, "do you 
indeed wish to remove from the Huguenots the desire to have 
a Protector ? Then take away the need of one. Be yourself 
their protector. Continue to them that former care, that for- 
mer affection. Anticipate their supplications by your free ac- 
tion, their just demands by a voluntary gift of such things as 
are necessary. When they shall recognize the fact that you 
have a care for them, they will cease to have it for themselves. 
But pardon him who tells you that they doubt whether you have 
enough care of yourself. You know what injures, what pleases 
them. Present to yourself the petitions which you used to pre- 
sent to the kings, your predecessors, for the liberty, the security, 
the dignity of the Huguenots. Those petitions have certainly 
not since then abated aught of their equity ; nay, the Protes- 
tants have added thereto by subsequent good services, and they 
must have gained by your accession to power. For you may 
both now set forth and grant their just complaints ; you may 
be, without other deputies, and with more good-will, the judge, 
if you choose, and the advocate, and the grantor, all together." x 

It is not improbable that, as the biographer of Duplessis 
Mornay asserts, the frank and noble appeal marvellously touched 
the king, who perceived both its reasonableness and its truth. 
At any rate, Henry was more than ever urgent that his old 
Huguenot adviser should come promptly to court. And when, 
in September, 1593, Duplessis Mornay at last arrived at Char- 
tres, where the court was temporarily staying, his majesty re- 
ceived him with marked favor. At once he took him apart, 
and assured him that he had been constrained by the necessi- 

1 1 have quoted, partly only in substance, one of the most remarkable letters 
ever addressed by Duplessis Mornay to Henry IV. It may be read entire both 
in the Memoires of that nobleman, v. 535-544, and in his life, published in 
Leyden in 1647, pp. 201-207. It is not dated, but must have been written 
in August or in the early part of September, 1593. 


ties of his situation to sacrifice himself for his subjects, that 
he aimed in particular to be able more easily to give rest to the 

Protestants. He told him that he saw plainly from 
to justify his his letter that Duplessis Mornay supposed him to 

have made an abjuration which he had not made, 
and he proceeded to narrate the events of Saint Denis after his 
own fashion. " Yes," said the Huguenot, " but I know that 
your abjuration has been sent to the pope." The king did not 
deny the fact — it was useless to do so, as he found that Du- 
plessis Mornay was well informed of the truth — but he had an 
answer ready. "I did not write nor sign the abjuration in 
question. It was written and signed by M. de Lomenie, my 
secretary, who ordinarily imitates my handwriting." " Sire," 
replied the fearless Protestant, " the document was presented 
to the pope with your consent, by your command, as your own. 
You wish it to be believed such, otherwise the paper is useless. 
Let your conscience flatter itself with this subtle device, but, 
sire, do you think that God can be deceived by such sophis- 
tries ? " Henry had much to say with regard to his hopes of 
reforming the church by means of national and universal coun- 
cils, or of some good pope whose election he thought he had 
fair reason to look for. But Duplessis Mornay met him at 
every point, and showed him the futility of his expectations. 
A good pope, he maintained, was a contradiction in terms. 
Pontiffs who, like Pius the Second, made great professions of 
reformatory projects became, upon their accession, the worst 
advocates of corrupt measures. Cardinal du Bellav expn 
the truth when justifying his conduct in refusing to be exalted to 
the Roman See. " God forbid," he said, " that I should become 
the son of perdition ! There is, my friend, such a pestilence 
attaching to that chair, that no sooner is a man seated thereon 
than he is infected by it, even though he belonged to the class 
of those who previously seemed the most excellent men in the 
world. It is a chair of pestilence— cathedra pestilentice — from 
which may God save me ! " ' 

The wisest among the Huguenots had been as unwilling that 

1 Vie de Duplessis Mornay, 207. 


the deputies of the churches should be present at the pretended 
" Instruction " of Henry as they were anxious that those depu- 
ties should accept his majesty's invitation to come 

Huguenot . i i • i .1 

deputies at and discuss with mm— and, possibly, with represent- 
atives of the other faith — the terms upon which the 
adherents of both religions might live peaceably together in 
France. To consent to witness the " Instruction " would have 
been to condemn themselves in advance to become absurd spec- 
tators of the preparations made for a triumph over the truth 
and its professors. In acceding to the proposed conference, 
however, they were following the instinct of self-preservation. 
Among the Protestant leaders the Duke of Bouillon was almost 
the only person who deemed it imprudent for the delegates of 
the church to go to Mantes. It was October when these repre- 
sentatives, numbering about sixty persons, reached the spot, 
but several weeks elapsed before his majesty, purposely detained 
by his Roman Catholic counsellors, we are told, in the neigh- 
borhood of Dieppe and Fecamp, arrived. Nor was it until the 
Protestants had sent to remonstrate with him, and to remind 
him that it was solely in obedience to his command that they 
had come from so great distances and in such numbers, that 
Henry returned to the banks of the Seine. 1 Meanwhile the 
deputies had improved their enforced delay by putting in 
shape the documents containing their demands and their com- 
plaints — the latter forming, unfortunately, a large and formida- 
ble budget. These papers they placed in Henry's hands when, 
on the twelfth of December, he admitted them to an audi- 
ence in his private cabinet. Their spokesman, M. Feydeau, 
lately member of the Parliament of Bordeaux, delivered an 
address not less remarkable for the care of its composition 
than for the mingled frankness and boldness of its thought or 
the dignity of the delivery. a The king's reply was gracious 
and conciliatory ; for he declared one of his objects in calling 
them together to be to prove that his " conversion " had in no- 
wise diminished his affection for them, and another, that, since 

J Ibid., 209. Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, etc., i. 263. 
'Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, etc., ubi supra. 


his rebellious subjects showed signs of an inclination to peace, 
pacification might not be concluded without the intervention of 
the Huguenots. 1 

But it soon appeared that his majesty was more lavish of 
words than of deeds. For a time it looked as though the depu- 
ties would be dismissed with vague assurances that justice would 
be done them in the course of three months, the king being 
unsatisfactory unable to attend to the matter at present because 
negotiations. o £ ^j g p ress i n g engagements. The absurdity of this 
policy, however, was soon demonstrated. If the king was wait- 
ing to hear from Home of the success of the negotiation of the 
Duke of Nevers, it was idle to expect that the fit time for sat- 
isfying the just demands of the Huguenots would ever come. 
If Nevers should fail, it would never do to add to the difficulties 
already standing in the way of obtaining the papal absolution. 
If Nevers should succeed, it would never do to disturb so soon 
the pope's good humor. Besides, to disappoint the deputies by 
sending them away without an answer would be to exasperate 
the very men of influence among the Huguenots whom it had 
been Henry's purpose, in convening them at Mantes, to pro- 
pitiate. In the end, the Huguenot memorial was referred to a 
commission composed of six or seven persons, all Roman Cath- 
olics (in order to avoid giving umbrage to the more violent 
men of the royalist party) — Chancellor Chiverny, the privy 
councillors D'O, Bellievre, Schomberg, Pontcarre and Chandon, 
and Forget, one of the secretaries of state. 2 Xor did even 

1 " Pource que mes sujets rebelles faisoyent contenance de vouloir entendre 
a quelque paix, je n'ai voulu que ce fust sans vous appeller, afin que rien 

fist a vostre prejudice : comme vous en avez este asseures par la promesse que 
firent lors les princes et officiers de ma couronne, lesquels jurerent en ma 
presence, qu'il ne seroit rien traitte en la conference de paix contre ceux de 
la religion." Account of the interview in Memoires de la Ligue^ v. 780. 

2 Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, etc., i. 264; Vie de Duplessis Mornay, 
ii. 210. M. Anquez (Histoire des Assemblies politiqnesdesReformes de France, 
58), is mistaken in speaking of " le chancelier de Bellievre." Pomponne de 
Bellievre, the illustrious negotiator, did not reach the chancellorship until 
1599, upon the death of Philippe Hurault, Count of Chiverny, brother-in- 
law of the historian De Thou. Chiverny had held the office for sixteen 
years, having himself, in 1583, succeeded Cardinal Birague. He had been 


this body find it a matter altogether easy to solve the ques- 
tion of Huguenot rights, and were fain to have recourse, by 
the king's permission, to the advice of some members of the 
Protestant party. Bouillon and Dnplessis Mornay were re- 
quested to confer with them. Day after day the subject was 
carefully considered, in the apartments of the latter, by two 
earnest men on either side. But when the fruit of so much 
consultation was at last brought forth, in the form of an an- 
nouncement to the deputies of what the monarch could grant 
them, the terms were scarcely such as to satisfy even so patient 
a people as the Reformed, accustomed through a whole genera- 
tion to the denial of their natural rights. 

The Huguenots were again offered the full advantage of the 

Edict of 1577, with its corollary in the shape of the articles 

agreed upon later at Nerac and Fleix. This edict was to be 

verified anew in all the parliaments of the realm, 

Proposed , . . , . >» . , 

ordinance of without restriction or modification, and the intolerant 
edicts of 1585 and 1588 were once more to be declared 
null and void. Inasmuch, however, as changes had been ren- 
dered necessary by the recent troubles, it was provided that a 
special ordinance should be drawn up — not, indeed, to be pub- 
lished to the world (lest new favor might seem to be shown to 
the Huguenots), but to be placed in the hands of the chancellor 
and the secretaries of state for their guidance, and to be inti- 
mated by his majesty to parliaments, governors, and lieutenant- 
governors of provinces as necessity might dictate. 

The ordinance thus to be held in reserve was not given with 
precision, but was stated to be substantially as follows : The Ro- 
man Catholic religion was to be re-established in all places from 
which it had been excluded during the late disturbances ; but 
the Protestant religion was to remain as heretofore. Since the 
open country afforded no safety for the exercise of the Reformed 
rites, the king would provide the Protestants with places for 
worship in the cities obedient to him, according to the circum- 
stances of each. In the royal court Protestant worship might 

master of the seals for the five years previous, during the cardinal's old age. 
See De Thou, vi. (bk. 78) 311 ; ix. (bk. 123) 315. 


be held freely so long as the queen's sister was there ; in her 
absence it might still be held, but with more caution, without 
psalm-singing, in the houses of such noblemen as the Dukes of 
Bouillon, La Tremouille, and Rohan, and Duplessis Morn ay. 
Under similar restrictions the Protestants might worship in the 
army, in the quarters of the captains of the men-at-arms and 
others. In view of the approaching ceremonials of his corona- 
tion and the convocation of the order "du Saint Esprit,'' and 
the promise there to be given to exterminate heresy, the king 
would, through no oath made or to be made, hold himself bound 
to wage war against or persecute the Protestants. 

Nor, it may be observed, was this last assurance a superfluous 

precaution. For in the engagement which Henry entered into 

at Chartres, before his investiture and coronation, with 

The king's 

coronation hands resting upon the gospel, and kissing the sacred 
volume, were these words: "Moreover, I shall en- 
deavor, according to my ability, in good faith, to drive from my 
jurisdiction and from the lands subject to me all heretics de- 
nounced by the church, promising on oath to keep all that has 
been said. So help me God and these holy gospels of God! " 
And at the subsequent convocation of the order of the Holy 
Ghost he swore, on the wood of the Holy Cross, to observe, even 
to the minutest particular, all the statutes of that intolerant 
institution, whose very foundation had been laid in the deter- 
mination to root out of France the enemies of the Roman 
Catholic and Apostolic religion. 2 

In order to meet the complaint of the Huguenots that, while 
compelled, like the rest of the inhabitants of the kingdom, to 
bear the burden of the support of the Roman Catholic Church, 
they had in addition to defray the expenses of their own wor- 
ship, provision was made for the establishment of a fund in the 
royal treasury, in the name of madame, the queen's sister, for 
the purpose of paying the salaries of the Huguenot ministers. 1 

1 Cayet, Chronologie novenaire, 557. - Ibid., obi supra. 562. 

3 " Qu'il seroit faict fondz en l'espargne d'une sonime pour l'entreteuement 
des ministres, dont le roolle seroit bailie, deuement certifie par les provinces " 
Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste sur la vie de Duplessis Mornaj sou mari, 


There were other articles — allowing Protestants to make bequests 
to their churches and to other religious purposes, guaranteeing 
the education of children in the faith of their parents, and per- 
mitting the erection of Protestant colleges for the instruction 
of the youth wherever it might be deemed advisable. With 
regard to the last point, however, the king's counsellors dis- 
played a remarkable degree of apprehension lest it might cause 
trouble ; for they begged that it should not be reduced to writ- 
ing. 1 

So it was that, despite all their efforts to convince the king 
that they deserved better at his hands, the deputies were com- 
pelled to leave Mantes with a reply which they could not take 
the responsibility of either accepting or declining, but must re- 
fer to the churches for their decision. It is a noteworthy cir- 
cumstance, however, that, while engaged in the fruitless struggle 
to obtain justice, they did not confine themselves to a discussion 
"Union of of their grievances ; but, at Mantes, in the very pres- 
ence of the court, they solemnly renewed the ancient 
union of the Huguenots, confirmed, at various intervals of time, 
at Xismes, at Milhau, at Montauban, and at La Rochelle, and 
again swore to live and die united in the confession of faith 
heretofore presented to the kings of France. Not only did 
Henry, though notified of their intention, express no disap- 
proval of their action, but he is even said to have urged its 

i. 266. The inaccuracy of the edition of Duplessis Mornay's memoires of which 
this work of his wife is the first volume, was pointed out in a report made to 
the French Government, in 1850, by M. Avenel (reprinted in Bulletin de la 
Societe de 1'histoire du Prot. francais, ii. 101-107). In the passage above cited, 
the editor has read " PEspagne " for " l'espargne " (Pepargne) ; and, strange to 
say, M. Anquez, in his extremely valuable " Histoire des Assemblies poli- 
tiques," to the ability and general thoroughness of which I wish here to bear 
witness, has perpetuated the mistake (p. 109). In view of the relations be- 
tween the two neighboring kingdoms of France and Spain, not to speak of 
the ultra Roman Catholic sentiments of Philip II., the idea of establishing in 
Spain a fund for the maintenance of the Protestant ministers of France is 
scarcely less ludicrous than would have been a proposal to place the money 
at Rome with the request that Pope Clement should act as honorary treas- 

1 Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, etc., i. 265-267; Vie de Duplessis Mor- 
nay, 210, 211. 


necessity. 1 The National Synod of Montauban, meeting a few 
months later, enjoined upon all the churches of the realm to 
swear to sustain the union formed in the assembly of Mantes. 
For this purpose the Protestants were to meet either in their 
churches or, where they constituted the entire population, as in 
some parts of Languedoc, in the municipal halls. 3 

The assembly of Mantes concluded its sessions on the twenty- 
third of January, 1594. The four years that intervened be- 
tween this date and the enactment of the Edict of Nantes, in 
Protracted April, 1598, were occupied by an unintermitted strug- 
sSfprotes- gle on the part of the Protestant churches of France, 
tant nghts. through their representatives, to secure the definite 
recognition of their rights. Nor can it be said that Henry 
seemed to be averse to granting them, at some future time, such 
guarantees as they might require for their safety and comfort. 
More keenly alive, however, to the difficulties of his own posi- 
tion than to the intolerable load of oppression beneath which 
they were staggering, his majesty was more than willing that 
they should wait uncomplainingly until such time as he had ar- 
ranged his temporal affairs quite to his satisfaction. And in 
the successive arrangements which he entered into for the re- 
duction of the rebellious leaders and cities of the League, he 
scouted the idea that his old allies ought any further to be 
called in for consultation, despite the fact that, as has been seen, 
each pacificatory edict trenched very materially upon the Edict 
of 1577, to whose integrity and maintenance he had repeatedly 
bound himself. He did, indeed, again send the edict in ques- 
tion to the parliaments for renewed registry, and he exerted his 
powers of persuasion to induce the refractory judges to proceed 
at once to the distasteful act. 5 Yet his efforts were to so little 

1 Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, etc., i. 268 ; Tie de Duplessis Mornay, 
211, 212 ; Anquez, 59, 60. Benoist, Histoire de l'edit de Nantes, i. Ill, 112. 
has some judicious observations on this important circumstance. 

2 Article XXIII. of the National Synod of Montauban (inatieres g^nerales . 
Aymon, i. 181. 

:M 'J'estois present," wrote M. d'Esmery (A. De Thou), March 1.1, 1594, 
" quand il en parla a Messieurs les presidens et deputes de la court. II ne 
se peult rien adjouster a l'affection qu'il monstra avoir en cest affaire." Me- 
moires de Duplessis Mornay, vi. 25. 


purpose that the Parliament of Paris, the only one of the sov- 
ereign courts that obeyed the royal injunction, scarcely rati- 
fied it by a majority of six votes ; whereas at Tours it had, a few 
years before, been unanimously approved, while yet unaffected 
by the concessions made to the League. 1 

Meanwhile the Huguenots were not secure against the perils 
arising from the presence of false or timid brethren. At Mantes, 
during the sessions of the political assembly, a public discus- 
sion was set on foot between the famous Roman Catholic con- 
trovertialist Du Perron and a prominent Protestant, 

DsnETcrs from 

weakbreth- Jean Baptiste Rotan, pastor and doctor of theology 
from La Rochelle, in which it is said to have been 
previously arranged that the latter should betray his cause by 
an insufficient defence. "Whether the story was true or false, 
whether Rotan broke down at the last moment through sudden 
fright or remorse, or really fell sick, certain it is that he yielded 
his post to Michel Berauld, of Montauban, a man alike proof 
against corruption and impervious to fear. With such an an- 
tagonist the Roman Catholic clergy saw that they had nothing 
to gain, and consequently managed to have the discussion given 
up. 2 On the other hand, the resolute front which the Hugue- 
nots determined to maintain, as against the acceptance of the 
unsatisfactory edict of 1577, threatened to be broken by the 
timidity or worldly wisdom of some of their own number, in 
and about the capital, who weakly petitioned for the simple 
verification of that edict, and so called down upon their heads 

1 " Bref discours par lequel chacung peult estre esclairci des justes proce- 
dures de ceulx de la relligion reformee," in Memoires de Duplessis Mornay, 
vii. 284. 

2 Agrippa d'Aubigiv'\ iii. 365, 366, affirms the treachery of Rotan, which 
Benoist, Histoire de Vedit de Nantes, i. 112, inclines apparently to believe, 
and Aymon, Tous les Synodes, i. 211, 212, repeats without comment. I con- 
fess that the testimony inculpating Rotan is, in my judgment, more than out- 
weighed by the marks of continued confidence reposed in him by the National 
Synod of Montauban, which, while electing Berauld moderator, made Rotan 
adjunct or assistant moderator ; and not only (by Article L. of its proceedings, 
" matieres generales ") thanked him for the part he had taken in the contro- 
versy at Mantes, but appointed him the first of twenty-one theologians to take 
part in the discussion should it be resumed. Aymon, ubi supra, i. 185, 186. 

Vol. II.— 25 


the censure of the National Synod of Montauban. 1 There was 
certainly some color for the suspicion that the proximity of the 
court had not been without its influence in obscuring the per- 
ception of propriety, if not in corrupting the simplicity, of the 
Huguenots of Paris and of the lie de France, when this prov- 
ince gravely submitted to the same synod the question, "Whether 
it would be well to take politic action in conjunction with the 
Roman Catholics of the kingdom against the pope for the main- 
tenance of the liberties of the Gallican Church. No wonder 
that the synod — fully aware of the fact that the Gallican party 
was scarcely less hostile to the Reformation and its adherents 
than were the ultramontanes, that in the bloody persecutions of 
which the Protestants had been the victims for the past three- 
quarters of a century they had suffered about as much from the 
advocates of the Pragmatic Sanction as from the friends of the 
Concordat — flatly informed the proponents that their suggestion 
was deemed unworthy of being submitted for deliberation. 5 

The Huguenots held a political assembly at Sainte Foy, on 
the Dordogne, by permission of the king, on the fifteenth of 
political as- ^ U ^J^ 1594. 3 The deputies, who had waited upon the 
saTnteFoy king at Mantes, na d carried to the provinces the offers 
juiy, 1594. f t} ie court; and their constituents, without excep- 
tion, declared the terms inadmissible. It was one great ob- 
ject of the new convocation again to urge upon his majesty 
the redress of their wrongs, of which the catalogue 
had meantime rather increased than diminished. N ew 
treaties had been made with cities of the League, involving 
fresh instances of exclusion for the Huguenots. The agents 

1 See Article XXII, Aymon, i. 181 ; also, Benoist, i. 124. 

2 See Article IV. (matieres particulieres), Aymon, i. 190. 

3 Not the middle of May, as Agrippa d'Aubigne, and Anquez, following him, 
say. The acts of the Synod of Montauban (held June 15-28) refer to the as- 
sembly as about to be convened. Anquez's slurring remark that Dnplessifl 
Mornay is possibly less sincere, when he says that the assembly came together 
" under his majesty's authority and command,' 1 than D'Aubigne. who speaks 
of the king's permission as being couched " in general and not in express 
terms," seems to be uncalled for. The correspondence of Duplessis Mornay 
refers to this permission in many places besides that cited by Anquez, 
and, in particular, in Duplessis Mornay's letter to Henry IV., of April 4, 1504. 


whom they despatched to the north had grievances to narrate in 
abundance — how at Paris itself a " lieutenant-civil " had issued 
an order to compel all persons, on pain of imprisonment, to 
salute pictures of the saints, crosses, banners, and reliquaries, 
when carried through the public streets ; how at Lyons all that 
refused to profess the Romish faith were banished the city and 
province on pain of death ; how at Rennes, in Brittany, an or- 
dinance of the provincial parliament forbade the reading, sell- 
ing, or possessing of Protestant books ; how at Bordeaux the 
foulest of outrages had been perpetrated when, in open session, 
a president of the Parliament of Guyenne and its oldest coun- 
sellor — the same envenomed enemy of the Reformed religion 
who wrote a famous " History of the Rise, Progress, and Over- 
throw of the Heresies of this Century," to which I have had 
frequent occasion to refer in treating of the earlier fortunes 
of the Huguenots ' — not only ordered the disinterment of a 
child buried in the cemetery of Ozillac, in Saintonge, but took 
occasion to extend the inhuman prescription to the bodies of 
all Protestants consigned to holy ground within the past ten 
years. 2 The same envoys had no lack of complaints to pour 
into the king's ear respecting the funds for the support of Prot- 
estant ministers withheld by the financial officers of the crown, 
respecting the " chambres mi-parties " nowhere established, re- 
specting the danger to the security of the Huguenots from the 
fact that the League now held the chief places in the royal 
council, in the army, in the administration, rich in means, for- 
midable to the monarch himself, still more formidable to the 
adherents of the Protestant faith. 3 

1 Rise of the Huguenots, i. 373, et al. 

2 " Memoire pour l'assemblee de ceux de la relligion, teneue a Saincte Foy 
dresse par M. Duplessis bailie a M. de Chouppes," in Memoires de Duplessis 
Mornay, vi. 66-72. The incident respecting Florimond de Raemond is more 
fully told in the celebrated pamphlet, issued two or three years later, under 
the title of " Plaintes des eglises rel'ormees de France sur les violences et in- 
justices qui leur sont faites en plusieurs endroicts du royaume, et pour les- 
quelles elles se sont en toute humilite a diverses fois addressees a sa majeste." 
It is reprinted in the sixth volume of the Memoires de la Ligue, 463-530. See 
p. 522. 

3 " Memoire pour Tassemblee," ubi supra. 


But the representations made to his majesty by the political 
assembly of Sainte Foy were as fruitless as those of the confer- 
ence of Mantes. The delegates, Chouppes and Tixier, were 
first put off for three months, to receive an answer at Saint 
Germain en Laye. When the court condescended to reply, it 
was only to offer terms even more unsatisfactory than before — 
the Edict of 1577 mutilated, if possible, more than ever, since 
a greater number of its provisions were infringed by recent 
compacts ; the articles respecting the exercise of worship at 
court and in the army, the maintenance of the ministry, and 
the cities of refuge, purposely omitted ; other articles restricted, 
rendered obscure, entirely changed. Even these paltry offers 
could not be obtained in writing ; they must be placed in care 
of some Protestant gentleman of the royal council, signed, in- 
deed, by the king and countersigned by a secretary of state, 
but not to be published until some future time when verified by 
parliament. 1 

Before adjourning to reassemble at Saumur, on the return of 
the deputies to court, the assembly of Sainte Foy had not been 
political or- idle. It had taken in hand and remodelled the polit- 
theSgue- 01 ical organization of the Huguenots to suit the altered 
nots * condition of things. Twenty-eight public and eight 

secret articles attest the zeal with which it applied itself to a 
difficult task. The articles provide for a general assembly of 
the Reformed churches, to meet once or twice a year and to 
consist of ten members. One member was to be elected by 
Brittany and Normandy ; a second by Picardv, Champagne, the 

?rincipality of Sedan, and the district of Metz ; the third by 
le de France, the Pays Chartrain, Dunois, Berry, and ( >: - 
leanois ; the fourth by Touraine, Anjou, Maine, Perche, Ven- 
domois, and Loudunois. Saintonge, Aunis, La Rochelle, and 
Angoumois were to send the fifth ; Poitou and Chatellerault 
the sixth ; Burgundy, Lyonnais, Provence, and Dauphiny the 
seventh ; Lower Languedoc and Auvergne, with Vivarais, the 
eighth ; Lower Guyenne and Gascony, with Perigord and 
Limousin, the ninth; and Upper Languedoc, Auvergne, and 

1 "Bref discours," ubi supra, vii. 282. 



Guyenne, with Quercy, etc., the tenth. Of the members, four 
were to be taken from the noblesse and tiers etat respec- 
tively, and two were to be ministers chosen in rotation by the 
provinces. Each of the ten ecclesiastical provinces was also to 
have its own particular assembly, composed of a nobleman, a 
minister, and a magistrate from each of the " colloques " within 
its geographical limits, and its particular council, of from five 
to seven members, whose duty would be to watch for the de- 
fence of the province, to appoint the governors of the places 
of surety within its bounds, and to discharge such other trusts 
as might naturally fall to it. The provincial assemblies were 
empowered to select the members both of the provincial coun- 
cils and of the general assemblies. 1 Such, in brief, was the 
plan of government instituted by the Huguenots for their own 
protection at this juncture, when the defection of their former 
head, the present king, and the apathy of the court in redress- 
ing their wrongs seemed to make it incumbent upon them to 
stand on their guard and not surfer themselves to be taken at 
unawares and overwhelmed by their sleepless enemies. As to 
electing a new protector in place of Henry, the idea was virtu* 
ally abandoned about this time. The Duke of Bouillon would, 
indeed, have been pleased to see the elector palatine chosen to 
fill the office once held by the King of Navarre ; but the pro- 
posal met with little favor in any quarter. 2 It was well known 
that Henry looked upon the selection of a successor to himself 
with such jealousy that it would have been likely to go ill with 
any one so foolhardy as to accept the perilous distinction. It 
was equally notorious that a great number, if not indeed the 
majority, of the Huguenots felt that they had had quite enough 
of what they styled familiarly the " Protectoral Tyranny," and, 
having gotten rid of one somewhat arbitrary and self-willed 
chief, were in no haste to replace him by another respecting 
whom it was by no means certain that he would not prove even 
more obnoxious. 

1 Agrippa d'Aubigne devotes an entire chapter of his history to the articles 
adopted at Sainte Foy (iii. 367-374). See, also, Anquez, 62-66. 

2 Benoist, Histoire de l'edit de Nantes, i. 123. 


Disappointed, but not having abated a whit of their deter- 
mination to maintain their rights, the Huguenots again met 
Assembi of m P°^tical assembly — at Saumur, which, under the 
ruar mu i595 b " g overnorsn ip °f Duplessis Mornay, had in a sense 
become their central point. Although the convocation 
was appointed for December, 1594, it was not until the twenty- 
fourth of February, 1595, that the return of Chouppes and 
Tixier from their long detention at court permitted the sessions 
to open. But if the two deputies had tarried long, they brought 
back little to satisfy the impatience of the Protestant churches. 
His majesty would concede nothing beyond his previous offers. 
The assembly then resolved, as a last resort, to try the virtue of 
a brief petition, which they hoped might touch the king's heart, 
and sent it by such men as La Noue and La Prim aud aye. This, 
too, proved an abortive attempt. The Huguenots were gravely 
asked to content themselves with the remaining shreds of the 
Edict of 1577, a law which in its integrity they had, as we have 
seen, pronounced unsatisfactory, but which now, shorn of prettv 
much everything it may have contained of advantage to Prot- 
estantism, was desired by their opponents more than by the 
Huguenots. If anything could add to the annoyance of the 
churches, it was the fact that the court still made a mystery < »f 
its dealings with them, as if ashamed to have it known that it 
would do anything for them. At the very moment when edicts 
in favor of the League were at once concluded by the royal 
council, registered promptly by the parliaments, published amid 
popular applause in every city, and carried into immediate exe- 
cution, the paltry responses which the government deigned to 
send to the Huguenots, after long and provoking delays, wore 
conveyed in most ungracious forms. In the present instance, 
as a great favor, the king's reply to the petition forwarded 
through La None and his companion was indeed given to the 
former in writing, but he was instructed merely to read it to the 
assembly of his brethren in the faith, and that, too, not until 
three months after its receipt. Even then the document was 
not in any proper and authentic form. 1 

1 "Bref discours," ubi supra, vii. 284. 2o5. 


It was under such circumstances that the fourth political 

assembly held by the Protestants since Henry's abjuration 

opened its sessions at Loudun, on the first of April, 

Assembly of * . . . r 

Loudun. 159b. It was an important convocation, meeting at a 
momentous epoch in Huguenot history in particular, 
as well as in the history of France entire. On the seventeenth 
of January, 1595, just three weeks after the dastardly attempt of 
war declared Jean Chastel upon the king's life, Henry signed his 
t spam. £ orma ] declaration of war against Philip the Second of 
Spain, a monarch who, not content with the butchery of his own 
subjects, boldly resorted to the assassin's knife that he 'might 
rid himself of powerful or dangerous rivals. Much as, against 
such an enemy, open warfare might be preferable to a deadly 
conflict under the forms of peace, it was no child's play that 
Henry of Bourbon should throw down the gauntlet for Philip 
the Second to pick up. There were in France itself elements 
that favored the Spaniard. Not to speak of the Spanish troops 
actually upon the soil of Brittany, the Duke of Mercceur, who 
had invited them there, still held a great part of that important 
province in the name of the League. This treacherous and de- 
fiant nobleman, though indebted for his greatness to the blind 
favor of Henry the Third and to the marriage by which he had 
Mercceur in been permitted to become Henry's brother-in-law, 
had, as we have seen, the unspeakable meanness to 
join his kinsmen in a conspiracy directed against the authority, 
if not indeed against the life, of his benefactor. Upon that 
benefactor's assassination his malignity, far from abating, led 
him openly to approve the murderous deed. He suffered a 
book to be published in his province, and with his ducal "privi- 
lege," wherein the author, Bishop Le Bossu, a creature of his 
whom he had raised to the see of Nantes, denounced the de- 
ceased monarch as worse than Nero, or Herod, or Judas, as 
a tyrant, as traitor to humankind and to the Church ; while 
his assassination was approved as proceeding from an inspi- 
ration of the Holy Ghost, his murderer enrolled as a martyr 
worthy of canonization, the very knife which Jacques Clem- 
ent had used declared to be a precious relic that ought to 
be carefully preserved for the edification of future genera- 


tions. 1 Since the accession of Henry the Fourth the duke had 
become still more insolent, hoping, in the dismemberment of 
France, to secure for himself some independent kingdom or 
principality on the coast of the Atlantic ocean. While other 
chieftains of the League submitted, he still expected to maintain 
himself against his lawful superior, or, at least, to extort, as was 
the case in the end, very favorable terms as the price of return 
to his allegiance. Nor was it alone in Brittany that treason 
lurked. The very generals of Henry were not all above sus- 
picion, and many of those who had reluctantly abandoned the 
League were but half-hearted in their support of a king still sus- 
pected of Huguenot leanings, as against the Spanish monarch 
who had figured for more than a generation as the champion 
of the Roman Catholic cause. 

The first year of the war with Spain had, therefore, been 
marked less by victories than by reverses ; for the gains in 
Burgundy made by no means so deep an impression upon the 
world as the loss by the French of Oambray, in October, 1595, 
and the fall of Calais, in April, 1596. 2 

Engrossed in the prosecution of this war, the king was more 
than ever indisposed to deal with the Huguenot question other- 
wise than by temporizing expedients. Meantime, what little 
hope the Protestants had hitherto cherished had wellnigh van- 
ished. The king had indeed fulfilled his promise so far as to 
renew by public proclamation the edict given at Poitiers in 
1577, and since then already twice re-enacted; 3 but that was 
all that had been done for the protection of the Huguenots. 
They had now new grounds for anxiety. A part of the west 
Was in commotion. The oppressive conduct of the Duke of 

1 '« Manifeste contre M. de Mercoeur, duquel le roy suspendit la publication 
cause du traicte qui intervint, sa majeste s'approchant de Bretaigne, 1595." 
InMemoires de Dnplessis Mornay, vi. 391, 392. 

2 See De Thou, Agrippa d'Aubigne, etc. 

3 At Mantes, after Henry the Third's death, in 1589 ; again in 1591 ; and, 
now for the third time, in November, 1594. Registered by the Parliament 
of Paris, January 31, 1595, after a continuous deliberation of twelve days, 
and, as we have seen, by a scanty majority of six votes. De Thou, viii. 512; 
Lestoile, ii. 257-259. 


fipernon had caused an armed uprising of the nobles of both re- 
ligions in defence of the tiers etat of Saintonge. Five hundred 
horse and six thousand foot soldiers were either in the field or 
ready to take it ; castles were captured, and cities of the neigh- 
borhood were summoned to join the struggle for the common 
good."* A barbarous massacre had been perpetrated near La 
Chataicmeraie, 2 much after the fashion of that ill-fated carnage 
at Yassy, a third of a century before, which kindled 

The massacre <• i t* . ., TT it* 

nearLaCha- the names or the first civil war. Here, too, the -Prot- 
estants were attacked when engaged in their public 
services. The troops of the garrison of Rochefort had been 
specially invited by the bloodthirsty Lady de la Chataigneraie 
to come and put an end to the indignity which she and her 
children felt to be put upon them by the Huguenots, in celebrat- 
ing their worship close to her lands on those of a gentleman 
friendly to the Protestant religion. Full well did they execute 
their commission, sparing neither man nor woman, neither 
decrepit age nor innocent childhood. Among the slain was a 
babe that had been brought to be baptized at the " preche," and 
a boy so tender in years and so unsuspicious in nature that he 
tried to save his life by offering his murderer the insignificant 
sum of eight sous for his ransom. 3 

Exasperated by this savage butchery, the Huguenots of Poi- 
tou promptly summoned a provincial assembly at Fontenay, 
not far from the scene of the incident, to deliberate upon the 
measures to be adopted for the purpose of securing the punish- 
ment of the guilty, and to urge his majesty by no means to grant 
an amnesty under the provisions of any subsequent treaty. 4 

Such were the circumstances in which the deputies of the 
Huguenots of the whole kingdom convened at Loudun, to hear 
from the mouth of La Noue and La Primaudaye the report 

1 Duplessis Mornay to Lomenie, September 16, 1595, Memoires, vi. 353. 

2 Now a village of about eighteen hundred inhabitants, in the department 
of Vendee. 

3 Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, etc., i. 292, 293. See, especially, the 
account in " Plaintes des Eglises Reformees de France " (1597), reprinted in 
Memoires de la Ligue, vi. 477. 

4 Duplessis Mornay to Lomenie, September 27, 1595, in Memoires, vi. 358. 

The truce to 
be revived. 


of their ill success. Xo wonder that the conclusion reached, 
after listening to the report, was that it was a vain thing to 
entertain any further hopes from deputations to the court. 
What was to be done? On mature deliberation the prevalent 
opinion was that, since no peace would be granted 
them, the Huguenots must fall back upon the truce 
into which Henry of Kavarre, as their representative, had en 
tered with Henry the Third. Certainly, it was argued, the pres- 
ent monarch is bound by the engagements made by his prede- 
cessor. Moreover, at his accession his majesty declared it to 
be his will to have the articles of the truce executed in all point-. 
until such time as a free council, whether universal or national, 
and a meeting of the states general of the kingdom should de- 
vise a permanent settlement. The Huguenots have, therefore, 
the declarations of two monarchs in their favor. Possessing 
no other sufficient law to defend their lives, they ought at once 
to have recourse to the protection which they had an indefeasible 
right to claim. 

Even now, however, the desire for peace led the assembly of 
Loudun to send a final messenger to the king. M. de Vnlson 
found Henry engaged in the long siege of La Fere, and still 
more reluctant than before to notice his importunate petitioners. 
Not only did he somewhat summarily dismiss Vulson with the 
same offers that had so often been rejected by the Protestants, 
but Yulson was also the bearer of a peremptory command to 
the members of the Loudun assembly at once to break up their 
meeting and return each to his province. Accepting the de- 
cision as final, "the deputies prepared themselves, after suppli- 
cation to Almighty God, to obey his majesty's commands, and, 
retiring to their distant homes, there to provide for their safety, 
according to the tenor of the truce, in as orderly a manner as 
possible, and with as little damage to the king's in teres" 
might be." ' 

It is worth while here to inquire more particularly into the 
spirit and intentions of the Huguenots at this important junct- 

1 " Bref discours,"ubi supra, vii. 286, 287 ; Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, 
etc., i. 300, 301. 


ure ; when even the most friendly of their Homan Catholic 
contemporaries seem to have condemned their persistence as 
Attitudeofthe ill-timed. So true is it that the just demands of the 
Huguenots. weaker party, if urged in a time of public quiet, are 
wont to be treated with coldness or contempt ; if brought forward 
during a season of calamitous reverses, are stigmatized as the 
unpatriotic utterances of men who take advantage of the com- 
mon disasters to secure private ends. 

The Protestants were advancing no fresh and novel requests. 
When Henry found fault with them for their inopportune 
clamors, and suggested that they wait until after the conclusion 
of the war with Spain, he well knew that they claimed no more 
than they had asked at the date of his accession and in every suc- 
ceeding year. The fact was that the king and those about him 
had been trading upon the well-known Huguenot endurance. 
The Protestants had borne so much, that they might be expected 
to bear more ; they had so long submitted to injustice, that they 
were counted upon as certain to continue to furnish the edifying 
spectacle of a body of men whom nothing could provoke to re- 
sistance. It was forgotten that the most exemplary patience 
has its bounds. It was forgotten that the Huguenots, who were 
so loath to resent the neglect of their interests on the part of one 
from whom they had least expected it, were, after all, the same 
men that had waged war for an entire generation against their 
oppressors. It was certainly a bitter disappointment that the 
leader who had stood at their head for so great a part of the 
conflict should have gone over to the side of the enemy, and 
should now betray more anxiety to conciliate his new partisans 
than desire to reward the fidelity of the old comrades to whom 
he owed his life and crown. But the Huguenots and their 
representatives at Loudun had accustomed themselves to the 
posture of their affairs, and were resolved to make the best of 
it. At least they would not consent, while favors of every kind 
were showered upon the former adherents of the League, to act 
as slaves whom no amount of oppression could goad to manly 

" I have written to you," said Duplessis Morn ay in a letter 
to a friend across the Channel, "respecting our assembly of Lou- 


dun. Every one there desires peace, but every one is weary of 

the uncertainty of our condition, resulting especially from the 

ris;or of the parliaments and of all the courts of iustice 

Views of J 

Dupiessis Mor- of the kingdom, which still put into execution the 
edicts of the League. It is vain to preach patience to 
them. They reply that they have had patience, but to no pur- 
pose. The king has been reigning for seven years, and their 
condition daily grows worse. Everything that it wishes is done 
for the League. Neither the court nor the tribunals refuse any- 
thing to its adherents. The story of the Prodigal Son does not 
compare with their treatment. At least, say the Huguenots, 
after having killed for them the fatted calf, let not the rope be 
left about our necks as the reward of our fidelity." ] 

But there was danger in the air. There was such a thing as 
presuming too much on Huguenot patience. 2 The scales were 
held with too unequal a hand. Men asked themselves involun- 
tarily: "What would the result have been, had it been some 
poor Huguenot that lost a Calais or a Cambray intrusted to 
him for safe-keeping ? " 3 

Dupiessis Mornay was not alone in his sombre prognostica- 
tions. Odet de la Noue, worthy son of the redoubtable knight 
ofodetde of the Iron Arm, warned the king of danger in ad- 
ia Noue. mirable letters, models of a respectful frankness which 
does not flinch from speaking unpalatable truths even in the 
ears of royalty. The Huguenots, he told him, loved peace and 
desired no other protector than Henry of Xavarre. Their pres- 
ervation was a matter of importance to him ; for he would find 
in his kingdom no more faithful, obedient, and courageous men 
than they. Yet they were treated throughout France as the 
very dregs of the people, as men without standing in the eye 
of the law. These grievances, not in one province, but in all 
the provinces, had brought them to the resolution to support 
themselves so as to stand erect, without waiting for the hope 

1 Dupiessis Mornay to La Fontaine, May 3, 1596, Memoires, vi. 468. 

2 "On se fonde trop sur nostre patience, laquelle par tant dinjustices et de 
desnis de justice pourroit changer." Ibid., ubi supra. 

3 "Que seroit-ce si ung povre huguenot avoit perdeu ou ung Calais ou ung 
Cambray, quiluy eust este bailie en garde ?" Ibid., vi. 467. 


of rising again when once they might have fallen to the ground. 
The truce, made with Henry the Third in 1589, authorized the 
Huguenots to retain for this purpose all the places they then 
held. The promise made by his present majesty to the Prot- 
estant deputies at Sainte Foy invited them to retain them. In 
addition to this the Huguenots had a very strong reason for 
pursuing such a course, in that they would be lost and become 
the prey of their enemies if they should give the cities up. 
" I will therefore tell you frankly," said La Noue, " that we are f 
determined not to relax our hold upon a single one of them, but 
to keep and maintain them at any cost, until by some written 
edict such provision shall be made for our grievances that we 
shall have no further occasion for fear. We shall be met with 
reference to the edict of 1577 ; but that edict is in no wise ap- 
propriate to the present time, even did the law still possess the 
arms and legs which have been cut off by the treaties of the 

So spoke an honest Huguenot and a true and loyal French- 
man. Without security, without greater religious liberty, with- 
out " chambres mi-parties," in place of parliaments notoriously 
prejudiced against them, it was impossible to satisfy the Prot- 
estants, and, unless they should be satisfied, all other remedies 
would amount to nothing. " Here, Sire," said La None, " is a 
general but accurate account of what is going at this place, 
which I will set forth once more in still fewer words. Just as 
it is our determination to persist until death in the obedience 
we owe you, to live in peace and not to seek war in any fashion 
whatsoever ; so are we resolved rather to undergo a thousand 
wars and a thousand disasters than relinquish a single point of 
what is absolutely necessary to the conservation of the churches. 
I believe, Sire, that you will not condemn so holy a desire, for 
the realization of which you formerly took so great pains and en- 
countered so many dangers with us. . . . As for myself, I am 
your very humble and obedient subject, and shall never be other. 
Yet you would esteem me cowardly and wicked if, professing 
the religion I do, I did not desire and seek the welfare of those 
who make a similar profession. This is not incompatible with 
your service. Finally, Sire, I beg you, in God's name, give us 


some secure position. The attempt needs but to be made. It 
is not a difficult matter. Everything will go well, provided 
there be no procrastination." ' 

It was at the critical juncture, when the assembly of London 
was on the point of breaking up, to carry throughout France 
the seeds of a war engendered by the despair of ever obtaining 
redress, that the wise counsels of a man of known moderation 
and prudence served to avert a calamity threatening disaster to 
the kingdom, possibly to the Huguenots also. So long as it 
was practicable, Duplessis Mornay had restrained his fellow- 
Protestants, assuring them of his own conviction of Henry's 
rectitude of purpose. But now he had written to the king 
himself, and signified the impossibility of feeding his subjects 
of "the religion" upon vain and delusive hopes. "I recog- 
nize," he wrote, " the magnitude of the matters your majesty has 
in hand ; and yet I venture to tell you, Sire, that the affair here 
is not one to be neglected." 2 And he had urged him, as the best 
method to be pursued, to send some good man, be he Roman 
Catholic or Protestant, to hear and report upon the oppression 
of which the Huguenots had but too much reason to complain. 

Happily, if Henry was not much given to making sudden 
changes in his plans, his was not a nature that hardens itself 
concession of a g amst the dictates of prudence and persists, to its 
the king. own ru i n? j n a pernicious course. Apprehending at 
length the peril which further delay might entail, he promptly 
replied to Duplessis Mornay that his intentions had been mis- 
understood, and begged that nobleman to induce his fellow- 
Protestants to remain at Londun until the arrival of some lead- 
ing men of his privy council, whom he promised to despatch 
at the earliest moment, with the view of satisfying his subjects 
of the Reformed faith. 3 Half apologetically, he wrote about 

1 Odet de la Noue to Henry IV., Loudun, June 26, 1596, MS. belonging to 
M. Lesens, printed in Bulletin de la Societe de Thistoire du Protestantisme 
franqais, xxxii. (1883) 401-404. Another letter of La Noue, of August 16, 
1596, printed ibid., xxxii. 405-407, from the MS. in the Collection Dupuy, 
National Library, Paris, is of almost equal interest. 

2 Duplessis Mornay to Henry IV., Saumur, May 11, 1596, Memoires. vi. 473. 

3 "Bref discours," ubi supra, vii. 287, 288. 


the same time to Duplessis Mornay : " I doubt not tliat there 
is a great deal that is wrong in the quarters where you are, see- 
ing that here there is so much that I do not know what remedy 
to apply, although, believe me, I spare myself in no wise in the 
quest." ' 

The intimation of the royal intentions reached the assembly 
before it had broken up — whether in obedience to the king's 
previous commands, or in accordance with the plan of carry- 
ing to the scattered Huguenots of France the determination 
to stand by the terms of the truce of Henry the Third. The 
members, we are told, received the intelligence with great 
demonstrations of joy, and of thankfulness to Almighty God 
for so inclining his majesty's heart and the hearts of his ad- 
visers. 3 The king's deputies soon followed — Yic and Calignon, 
both of them men of recognized probity and skill. But now 
again difficulties at once arose ; the powers with which Yic and 
Calignon had been invested were too limited to be of practical 
use, resolving themselves into little more than offering what 
had been so often rejected — the Edict of Poitiers, with some 
insufficient compensation for what that edict had lost through 
the successive treaties made with cities and chieftains of the 

The end was not yet. However, the king seemed to be 
thoroughly in earnest, and was listening to better advisers. In- 
stead of insisting upon the dispersal of the assembly, lie was 
anxious not only to have it continue in session, but to bring it 
nearer to the capital ; possibly not without the hope that the 
blandishments of the court might make some impression even 
upon men so resolute. The delegates accepted the proposal ; 
but only with a distinct understanding that they should not be 
invited, as before, merely to be again dismissed with complaints 
scarcely heard, and with a few vague notes hurriedly written on 
the margin of the several articles of their carefully prepared pe- 

1 Henry IV. to Duplessis Mornay, Abbeville, June 2, 1596, Memoires, vi. 

2 "Bref discours," ubi supra, vii. 288 ; Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, 
etc., i. 300, 301. 


titions. 1 On the tenth of November the Huguenots, who for 
seven months and over had been sitting at Loudun, transported 
The assembly themselves to the little town of Vendome, on Henry's 
SL patrimonial estates. A little later they thought it 
saumur. p ru dent to retire to safer quarters at Saumur, on the 
Loire, where Duplessis Mornay was governor. 

Meantime the king's deputies continued to come and go be- 
tween the Huguenot assembly and the court, but the old year 
closed leaving the matters in dispute as unsettled as ever. The 
first three months of the year 1597 did not pass before the 
monarch fancied that, in the fresh complications of civil affairs, 
he had additional and stronger grounds for adjourning to a more 
favorable season the legislation necessary to give to Protestant- 
ism a standing in the state, and to its adherents some measure 
of security for life, property, and religious worship. 

As if previous reverses had not been sufficient, there came to 
the court, plunged, at the time, in extraordinary festivities and 
Fan of Amiens, gay eties and masquerades, the startling intelligence 
March 11, 1597! t j iat tne c [ t y f Amiens, key to the situation in the 
north of the kingdom, had, on the eleventh of March, been 
surprised and taken by the Spaniards. The sense of disgrace 
connected with its capture was felt even more than the possi- 
ble danger. A few soldiers disguised as peasants had effected 
one of those daring surprises of which the century had seen so 
many. A loaded wagon breaking down at the gate of Amiens 
had prevented the portcullis from falling to its place. The score 
of soldiers had facilitated the entrance of two hundred, the two 
hundred had opened the way for the whole Spanish army. A 
city boasting the possession of more than fifteen thousand bur- 
gesses capable of bearing arms was taken and plundered, its 
men maltreated and its women outraged, by an insignificant 
force of three thousand of the enemy. The blow was a cruel 
one ; Henry felt it to the quick, and the smart reminded him of 
the more glorious days of the past, when, fighting with his small 
following of Huguenot soldiers, he had been a match for all 

1 "Des apostilles faicts a, la haste sur leurs requestes." " Bref discours," 
ubi supra, vii. 289. 



the armies which had in vain been hurled against him. " I 
have been long enough playing the King of France," he ex- 
claimed. " Xow I must play the King of Navarre." ! 

How should the Huguenots act in this emergency ? This 
was the question that instantly confronted them, both as indi- 
viduals and as a body of religionists of similar views 
the hS^ and interests. Denied the rights for which they had 
so long been contending, enjoying — under a king until 
lately professing their faith and certainly elevated to the throne 
more by their valor and self-devotion than by the adhesion of 
any other persons — less freedom of action than they had pos- 
sessed under monarchs who were their avowed enemies, baffled 
at every step in their attempt to secure justice by the persist- 
ent unwillingness of a royal council which had more than 
once frustrated even the monarch's own kindly disposition and 
definite concessions — must they, notwithstanding all, flock to 
his support, not only forgetting all past disappointments, but 
renouncing present claims ? So very naturally thought Henry ; 
so thought his Roman Catholic courtiers, one and all ; so, 
deceived by the glamour of the doctrine of the divine right 
of kings, and of the unqualified duty of passive obedience on 
the part of subjects, thought even the fairest men of the op- 
posite party ; so thought a few of the Huguenots themselves. 
The majority were of a different mind, and the more just 
appreciation of the rights of man now entertained will lead 
us to side with them. The Huguenots were willing, and more 
than willing, to pour out their life's blood for the defence of 
king and country. They had no desire to take advantage of the 
time to exact conditions, still less to require hard or unjust con- 
ditions. But they must know, once for all, where they stood, 
what was going to become of them. If they were to suffer and 
die for king and country, they must at least be certain that that 
king and that country were theirs. The time for quibbling 

1 " C'est asses faire le roy de France ; il est temps de faire le roy de Navarre." 
Lestoile, ii. 282. See De Thou, ix. 79-81 ; Memoires de la Ligue, vi. 530- 
532 ; Agrippa d'Aubigne, iii. 387, 388 ; and Motley, United Netherlands, iii. 
435, etc. 

Vol. II.— 26 


and shuffling and prevaricating and procrastinating, if there 
ever was a time for such unworthy actions, had long gone by. 
The government must give a categorical answer to this ques- 
tion : " Are the adherents of the Reformed Church entitled to 
equal rights, to something more solid than mere sufferance at 
the hands of Roman Catholics?" Xo reply but "Yes" or 
"No" was admissible. If they were Christians, if they were 
Frenchmen, if they had proved themselves loyal subjects, let 
them be treated as such. It required no time, no slow and pain- 
ful deliberation, for king and council to decide whether they 
would accord the Huguenots their inalienable rights. 1 It was 
high time that all Frenchmen should learn from necessity what, 
to their great misfortune, they had hitherto failed to learn 
from reason and from experience — that they must accustom 
themselves, whatever their religious opinions might be, to live 
harmoniously together. 2 

The king had lost no time in notifying the Protestant assem- 
bly of Saumur of the disaster that had befallen him, and in 
begging them to postpone their demands and hasten to the 
sistance of their sovereign in this his hour of need. The an- 
swer which the Huguenots returned to the royal Bummone is 
an important document, exhibiting clearly the principles which, 
according as they were just or erroneous, must lead us to admire 
or reprehend the conduct of the Protestants. 

" Sire," the} T said, in a letter dated on the twenty-fifth of 

March, 1597, and signed by Clermont, as president, and by 

Chamier, as secretary, "we have received, through 

The assembly's . -,-»«- -, -, • , i • i • i i j 

answer to the Monsieur de Montglat, the epistle which it has pic 

your majesty to write us. From this we learn both 
of the loss of Amiens and of the displeasure your majesty has 
experienced thereat. We sympathize in your grief, as true 
members of the body of which you are the head, being unable 

1 The extended correspondence of Duplessis Mornay is a mine of informa- 
tion respecting the attitude of the Huguenots. It should be read entu 

far as these years are concerned, by any one who wishes to obtain an accurate 
idea of their religious principles and unflinching patriotism. 

2 Duplessis Mornay to Henry IV. , Saumur, March 25, 1597, Meinoires, vii. 
175. See, also, the letter of June 2, 1596, ibid., vi. 490. 


to see you afflicted without being ourselves afflicted. It is just 
and reasonable that all should unite and hasten to the public de- 
fence, and we hold unworthy of the French name, yea, of the 
Christian name, all who may purpose to be wanting in this their 
bounden duty. As such we declare accursed that remnant of 
rebels and disobedient leaguers who, instead of upholding the 
freedom of their native land, traitorously subject it to the yoke 
of foreign slavery. 

" But, Sire, we cannot notice that your majesty exhorts us to 
this union, and that he asks us to divest ourselves of prejudice, 
without complaining of the unfavorable judgment you seem 
to pass upon us. For we are charged with a crime of which 
we are innocent — we who have no other aim but to live to- 
gether as true Frenchmen, bound by mutual friendship and 
concord ; we who have so little regard for our personal inter- 
ests that we have no life, no possessions, but such as we are 
ready to use for the public weal, as we have ever done. To ad- 
monish us to be content with what has been accorded us, is a 
thing not less strange than prejudicial to the object which your 
majesty desires of us. It is strange, because you formerly bore 
us such good will that it is almost impossible that you can now 
desire our hurt. It is prejudicial, in that while intending to 
persuade us to serve you against your enemies, you persuade us 
at the same time to render ourselves incapable of doing you ser- 
vice. We cannot do service to your majesty unless we subsist. 
Now, we can neither be nor continue to subsist, if we remain 
bound to the hard conditions which we are asked to accept. 
"VVe shall be told that heretofore we have subsisted with a great 
deal less. That is true ; but the disease is now at its crisis. For, 
on the one hand, having borne as large a share as we were able 
of the disasters of the state, and sacrificed all our interests in 
order to aid and re-establish it, we cherished the hope that 
when the state might fare better we also should enjoy greater 
prosperity. On the other hand, our enemies will overwhelm 
us without delay, unless the matters needed for our preserva- 
tion be provided for by your majesty. Therefore it is that we 
remain firm, Sire, and purpose to remain firm, with no intention 
of keeping men's minds in suspense by our fresh demands. 


"Are we not Christians, Sire? Why do men wish to de- 
prive us of liberty to pray to God ? Shall the pope suffer the 
Jews to deny our Lord in the city of Rome, and will he not 
suffer us to adore Him publicly in France ? Tithes have from all 
antiquity been instituted for the support of the pastors of the 
people ; we are compelled to pay tithes to our mortal enemies. 

" There are two things which prevent us from now giving 
up, in view of the state of affairs, the demands we have so much 
reason to urge, or from adjourning them to another season. 
The one is that they are so absolutely needful to us that we 
shall perish if deprived of them ; the other, that whatever we 
might defer would be so much lost. . . . 

" Let your majesty give us a law under which we may be 
able to live with honor, and we will boldly answer for all ' those 
of the religion ' that they will never prove recreant to the loyalty 
and obedience they owe you, that they will never have anything 
more at heart than to hasten to lay down their lives at your 
majesty's feet, resisting the common enemy of this state. This 
is the goal of our aspirations, for whose attainment we now 
have greater reason to hope, since it has pleased your majesty, 
for the purpose of enabling us to secure it, to appoint members 
of his council who ardently desire the prosperity and quiet of 
the realm. We very humbly beg you to be pleased once more 
to command them to surmount all difficulties in order to grant 
us the things that are necessary. Having these, we protest 
that we shall be satisfied ; as also we protest that we shall never 
consent to be deprived of them, lest we be suicides, authors of 
our own ruin. Against that ruin we entreat your majesty to 
oppose yourself, in conjunction with us, as courageously and as 
zealously as you did in former days." ' 

1 The full text of the letter is published in the appendix to M. Charles 
Read's Daniel Chamier (Paris, 1858), pp. 214, 215. The learned author of 
this very valuable work (the first president of the French Protestant Histori- 
cal Society) supposes that the letter was the production of Daniel Chamier, 
who signed it in the capacity of secretary. I think that this is a mistake, and 
that here again we have a paper from the pen of Duplessis Mornay. The 
reference made by the writer to the toleration of the Jews by the pope in the 
city of Rome may be compared with the sentences respecting the ?aine circuni- 


Meanwhile, to the original negotiators on the part of the king 
had happily been added, at the suggestion of the Protestants, 
schomber * w0 men °^ tried fidelity to principle and of marked 
and De Thou, ability, recently commissioned by his majesty to treat 
with that troublesome rebel, the Duke of Mercosur. With the 
help of such men as Schomberg, Count of Nanteuil, and Jacques 
Auguste de Thou, it was hoped that a pacific settlement might 
soon be reached. Nor was this anticipation disappointed. 
Under their patient and skilful management the crude outline 
of a contract between the Roman Catholics and the Protes- 
tants was gradually fashioned into the notable edict which, for 
the greater part of a century, was to constitute the charter of 
Huguenot rights. 

Of the difficulties that stood in the way we can best form 

a notion from a consideration of the radical differences in the 

positions occupied by the opposing parties on the 

Difficulties in r . .. r . J • m i t> r^ i 

the way of question or religions toleration, lo the Koman Cath- 
olic, the existence of Protestantism in France was a 
fact indeed, but a fact militating against the unity of the king- 
dom, a misfortune not only to be deplored, but to be cured as 
speedily as possible. " Une foi, une loi, un roi," was still a 
favorite motto. v To the Huguenot, Protestantism in France 
was an establishedfact, a permanent condition of French juris- 

The Roman Catholic sought to relegate the Reformed wor- 
ship to distant parts of the country, to exclude it from the 
cities, to compel it to forego all external marks of its presence, 
to prevent its convocations from meeting the eye, the singing of 
its psalms from offending the ear of the faithful masses of the 
people. He insisted that its adherents be rigidly banished from 
all offices of honor, trust, or emolument, that its ministers receive 
no official recognition. The tithes must, as heretofore, be re- 
served for the clergy of the established church. If the adhe- 
rents of the Reformed Church must have ministers of their own. 

stance contained in a "Remonstrance to the States of Blois," drawn up by 
Duplessis Mornay, in 1576. See the document in his Memoires, ii. 40-78, 
and especially pp. 49-51. 


let them pay for their maintenance ; let them expect no relief 
from bearing a proportionate share in the expense of supporting 
an ecclesiastical order of which it was their fault or their mis- 
fortune that they did not reap the advantage. 

On the other hand, the Huguenot claimed an equality with 
the Roman Catholic in all pertaining to citizenship — an equal 
right to worship God according to his own convictions of duty 
and proprietj 7 , and without discrimination of time and place ; 
equal protection of person and goods by means of courts im- 
partial because constituted of a bench of judges equally divided 
between the two communions ; equal admission to all offices in 
the civil administration, in the army, in the judiciary ; equal 
participation in the funds for the support of the ministry to 
which he or his fathers had contributed ; finally, since it was vain, 
in view of the numerical preponderance of the Roman Catholics, 
to expect that even the monarch himself, however equitably 
disposed, would be able to defend the Protestant minority from 
oppression, if indeed from exposure to bloody attack and mas- 
sacre, cities of refuge to be left in Huguenot hands, but with 
garrisons paid from the royal treasury, to serve both as a 
means of protection and as a pledge of future peace. 

To adjust views so diametrically opposed would have been 
a hopeless task. Happily for the negotiators, they were nut 
called upon to make an entirely new settlement. With the 
Edict of Poitiers and the conclusions of the Conference of 
Nerac and the Peace of Fleix as the basis, they had but to 
enlarge the concessions of Henry the Third to the extent at 
which they would in some measure satisfy the Protestant.-, 
w r hile not offending the Roman Catholics so far as to prevent 
them from accepting the results of their work. It may, indeed, 
be urged that they would have done far better had they cast 
aside the trammels of the Edict of 1577 and arranged the rela- 
tions of the Protestants to the state on the broad foundation ->t 
natural law, conceding to the partisans of the Reformation all 
the inalienable prerogatives of man as a rational being respon- 
sible to God alone for his religious belief. But, not to say that 
Schomberg and De Thou were intrusted with no ample powers 
to enable them to establish the principle of religious equality. 


the age itself was unprepared for the assertion of that principle. 
Every country of Europe had its own state religion, from which 
if dissent was tolerated at all, the toleration carried with it no 
acknowledged claim to impartial protection and support. It 
was a marvel to contemporaries, as it is a marvel to the candid 
student of history in our times, that, in the face of obstacles so 
formidable, the ingenuity of Yic and Calignon, of Schomberg 
and De Thou, on the side of the court, and of Duplessis Mornay, 
of Clairville, and of others scarcely less worthy of individual 
mention, from among the Huguenots, was successful in devising 
a law so skilfully and so justly framed in all its parts that, 
under its benign provisions, the partisans of the two religions 
had every prospect of being able to live together in mutual 
amity and in quietness for centuries, if not for all time, had 
not the fatal resolution been formed in the mind of Louis the 
Fourteenth to secure by his arbitrary authority the complete 
religious unity of the kingdom. 

The pressure of the court upon the assembled deputies at 
Saumur to make, in view of the fall of Amiens and the un- 
promising state of the king's affairs, concessions which they 
were expressly forbidden from making by their instructions, 
led to yet another change, both of place and of form, in the 
political gathering. With the monarch's consent, the Hugue- 
nots took a brief recess, that they might have time to visit their 
constituents and then reassemble in the city of Chatellerault, on 
The assembly the sixteenth of June, with larger numbers and better 
raStfjune, able to express the sentiments of the masses of the 
Protestant people. It was a goodly company that 
convened. Each province was represented by a nobleman, a min- 
ister of the Gospel, and a member of the third estate. To these 
members were added, according to the regulations adopted at 
Sainte Foy, several high lords of the party, among whom Claude 
de la Tremouille exerted the greatest influence and was elected 
to the important position of presiding officer of the assembly. 1 

If the royal council and Henry himself had hoped for any 
abatement of the Protestant demands from the delegates fresh 

1 Benoist, Histoire de ledit de Nantes, i. 188, 189. 


from intercourse with the Huguenots of the provinces, they 
were utterly disappointed. Far from being weaker, their tone 
it abates none was only the more determined. On the essential 
of its claims. ^ nt Q £ t j ie Becur i t y to \y e accorc l ec l to the Protestau te, 

almost the only point of importance where substantial agree- 
ment had not been reached, the deputies were inflexible in de- 
fence of the rights of which they were the appointed guardians. 
If Duplessis Mornay had previously descried peril, he now real- 
ized how T imminent it was. Some of the Huguenot leaders re- 
fused to rally to the king's standard until his majesty should 
be pleased to give them some satisfaction. La Tremouille him- 
self had raised troops in the king's name, but remained in 
Poitou and would not hasten northward to Picardy ; just as 
the Duke of Bouillon from Limousin turned his arms eastward 
into Auvergne and Gevaudan to meet the insurrectionary force 
of Montmorency Fosseuse, instead of crossing swords with the 
Spaniards. 1 The majority of the members of the assembly of 
Chatellerault, indeed almost all, stood in the same attitude. 
They insisted that the little account which the king's council 
made of the importance of satisfying the demands of the Prot- 
estants, even as to necessary things, was a sufficient reason that 
the Protestants should persist in their demands for things nut 
necessary — nay, that they should even take advantage of the 
public affliction of the kingdom, inasmuch as their enemies pre- 
ferred to refuse their just demands rather than avail themselves 
of the services of the Huguenots by granting those deman<; 

Nor ought severe censure to be directed against the Hugue- 
nots, so often disappointed, so heart-sick because of hope long 
deferred, if they exhibited to the world a considerable amount 
of irritation. They were, indeed, on the eve of securing an 
edict by whose provisions all their most essential wants would 
be met ; but they were gifted with no supernatural prescience, 
and their course must be judged not by what we now know, 
but by what they knew. And they only knew that years of 
earnest discussion and humble petition, years crowded with 

1 Memoires de la vie de J. A. de Thou, pp. 188, 189. 
' Memoires de Charlotte Arbaleste, etc. , i. 313. 314. 


fruitless journeyings to and from court and with repulses from 
indifferent or hostile councillors, years in which their laborious- 
ly prepared statements of grievances and exhibits of the things 
they must have in order to maintain a bare existence had re- 
ceived little attention, had been negligently read, and had called 
forth for all reply only a few vague assurances hurriedly dashed 
off with the pen and amounting in truth to nothing at all — they 
only knew that all these years of tedious waiting had not bet- 
tered their actual condition in the slightest degree. 

It may indeed be that the cool-headed Duplessis Mornay 
was more nearly right than were most of his fellow-believers, 
when he urged that some concessions on their part at this junct- 
ure would insure the immediate enactment of a law in favor of 
the Protestants, who might then go at once to the help of the 
king before the walls of Amiens. Such a law would, in the 
present emergency, be instantly registered by the Parliament of 
Paris, and the reproach now heaped upon the Protestants for 
their tardiness would be turned into congratulation for the op- 
portune service they rendered. On the other hand, if Amiens 
should be permanently lost to France, the Protestants would 
share in the disaster experienced by the whole realm ; whereas, 
if Amiens should be retaken by Henry without their partici- 
pation, in the exploit, their condition would only become the 
worse. As a consequence of the peace between him and Philip